For more details about the vision for this area of the product, see the Plan stage page.
From an engineering perspective, we are also responsible for the code backing our GraphQL API. This does not mean we own everything about the API - each team is responsible for implementing its own resources in GraphQL - but we are responsible for the overall stewardship of this API.
|Jake Lear||Backend Engineering Manager, Plan:Project Management|
|Brett Walker||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Heinrich Lee Yu||Staff Backend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Alexandru Croitor||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Mario Celi||Backend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Gabe Weaver||Senior Product Manager, Plan:Project Management|
|Scott Stern||Frontend Engineer, Plan:Project Management/Product Manager Internship for Learning, Verify:Testing|
|Holly Reynolds||Senior Product Designer, Plan:Project Management|
|Marcin Sędłak-Jakubowski||Technical Writer, Plan, Manage (Optimize)|
|Simon Knox||Senior Frontend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Natalia Tepluhina||Staff Frontend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Donald Cook||Frontend Engineering Manager, Plan|
|Désirée Chevalier||Software Engineer in Test, Plan:Project Management|
|Costel Maxim||Senior Security Engineer, Application Security, Plan (Project Management, Product Planning, Certify), Create:Source Code|
|Coung Ngo||Senior Frontend Engineer, Plan:Project Management|
|Melissa Ushakov||Group Manager, Product Management, Plan and Ecosystem|
This chart shows the progress we're making on hiring. Check out our jobs page for current openings.
We have a metrics dashboard intended to track against some of the Development Department KPIs, particularly those around merge request creation and acceptance. From that dashboard, the following charts show MR Rate and Mean time to merge (MTTM) respectively.
The following chart shows the MR Rate of the Dev section as a whole, for the identification of trends:
We're tracking a number of issues that we believe could cause scalability problems in the future.
|Type||Description||Estimated Timeline for Failure||Resolution Due Date||12 Month Target||Issue||Status|
|Int4 Primary Key Overflow||Primary key overflow in the
||December 2021||July 2021||Creation of 2 × 109 Events (& all event-creating actions)||#220023|
|Int4 Primary Key Overflow||Primary key overflow in the
||April 2023||April 2022||Creation of 1m Notes per Day|
|Redis Primary CPU||Unexpected load on the Shared State Redis instance caused by
||Unknown||April 2022||150k Concurrent WebSocket Connections at peak|
|Redis Memory||Retention of Action Cable messages in Redis Shared State memory due to high numbers of and/or stalled/hung clients.||Unknown||April 2022||150k Concurrent WebSocket Connections at peak||#326364|
|Various||Scaling a combined 'Work Items' table consisting of all current issues, epics, requirements and test cases.||Unknown||April 2022||100k Work Items created per day|
Note: Work is ongoing on migration helpers to mitigate Int4 Primary Key Overflows. These will provide a standard way to resolve these issues.
You can see how we work as a stage at the Plan stage page.
For the backend team specifically, we use the standard GitLab engineering workflow. To get in touch with the Plan:Project Management backend team, it's best to create an issue in the relevant project (typically GitLab CE) and add the ~"group::project management" label, along with any other appropriate labels. Then, feel free to ping the relevant Product Manager and/or Engineering Manager as listed above.
For more urgent items, feel free to use #s_plan on Slack.
We use a lightweight system of issue weighting to help with capacity planning, with the knowledge that things take longer than you think. These weights are used for capacity planning and the main focus is on making sure the overall sum of the weights is reasonable.
It's OK if an issue takes longer than the weight indicates. The weights are intended to be used in aggregate, and what takes one person a day might take another person a week, depending on their level of background knowledge about the issue. That's explicitly OK and expected.
These weights we use are:
|1||Trivial, does not need any testing|
|2||Small, needs some testing but nothing involved|
|3||Medium, will take some time and collaboration|
|4||Substantial, will take significant time and collaboration to finish|
|5||Large, will take a major portion of the milestone to finish|
Anything larger than 5 should be broken down if possible.
We look at recent releases and upcoming availability to determine the weight available for a release.
Estimating bugs is inherently difficult. The majority of the effort in fixing bugs is finding the cause, and then a bug be accurately estimated. Additionally, velocity is used to measure the amount of new product output, and bug fixes are typically fixes on a feature that has been tracked and had a weight attached to it previously.
Because of this, we do not weigh bugs during ~"workflow::planning breakdown". If an engineer picks up a bug and determines that there will be a significant level of effort in fixing it (for example, a large migration is needed, or we need to switch state management to Vuex on the frontend), we then will want to prioritize it against feature deliverables. Ping the product manager with this information so they can determine when the work should be scheduled.
To assign weights to issues in a future milestone, we ask two team members to take the lead each month. They can still ask questions - of each other, of the rest of the team, of the stable counterparts, or anyone else - but they are the initial. This should start on the 4th of the month, per the Product Development Timeline.
To weight issues, they should:
The rotation for upcoming releases is:
| Release | Weights due | Engineer | Engineer | | — | — | — | — | | 13.5 | 2020-09-13 | | |
Points of weight delivered by the team on the last three milestones, including rolling average. This allows for more accurate estimation of what we can deliver in future milestones. Full chart here.
The ~"backend complete" label is added to issues with multiple specializations (usually backend and frontend) to indicate that the backend component is complete. Add this label when the backend work is functionally complete, merged and verified but frontend, or other, work is ongoing.
The Plan:Project Management Build board always shows work in the current release, with workflow columns relevant to implementation. There is an additional column to show in-progress community contributions. Filtering it by ~backend shows issues for backend engineers to work on.
It's OK to not take the top item if you are not confident you can solve it, but please post in #s_plan if that's the case, as this probably means the issue should be better specified.
When an issue comes through that is both ~"severity::1" and ~"priority::1", our SLO requires that it be looked at right away. Other items being worked on should be postponed in favor of any investigations or work for the high severity/priority issue. When postponing an issue, engineers should leave a comment on the issue with a link to the high severity item that is being prioritized instead. Leaving a comment will help with communication with the cross-functional team and for historical tracking. The exception to this is if another ~"severity::1"/~"priority::1" issue is currently being worked on by an engineer. If this is the case, the engineer should make others on the team aware of the new issue on Slack but then keep working on the initial issue.
Everyone at GitLab has the freedom to manage their work as they see fit, because we measure results, not hours. Part of this is the opportunity to work on items that aren't scheduled as part of the regular monthly release. This is mostly a reiteration of items elsewhere in the handbook, and it is here to make those explicit:
When you pick something to work on, please: