For more details about the vision for this area of the product, see the Plan stage page.
|Kushal Pandya||Fullstack Engineering Manager, Plan:Product Planning|
|Abhilash Kotte||Senior Incubation Engineer, OKR Management|
|Eugenia Grieff||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Florie Guibert||Senior Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Jan Provaznik||Staff Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Joseph Joshua||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Nicolas Dular||Senior Backend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Rajan Mistry||Frontend Engineer, Plan:Product Planning|
|Amanda Rueda||Senior Product Manager, Plan:Product Planning|
|Matthew Macfarlane||Product Manager, Plan Stage, Knowledge Group|
|Costel Maxim||Senior Security Engineer, Application Security, Plan (Project Management, Product Planning, Certify), Create:Source Code, Growth, Fulfillment:Purchase, Fulfillment:Provision, Fulfillment:Utilization, Systems:Gitaly|
|John Hope||Senior Manager, Engineering, Plan|
|Natalia Tepluhina||Principal Engineer, Plan|
|Ottilia Westerlund||Security Engineer, Fulfillment (Fulfillment Platform, Billing and Subscription Management), Govern (Security Policies, Threat Insights), Monitor (Observability), Plan (Product Planning), AI-powered:AI Framework|
|Melissa Ushakov||Group Manager, Product Management, Plan|
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 chart shows MR Rate.
The following chart shows the MR Rate of the Dev section as a whole, for the identification of trends:
We have useful dashboards tracking the performance of parts of the application we're responsible for:
FY23-Q4 OKRs were conducted in Ally.io and are no-longer available.
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:
|15.3||2022-07-13||Felipe Artur||Eugenia Grieff|
|15.4||2022-08-13||Eugenia Grieff||Jan Provaznik|
|15.5||2022-09-13||Jan Provaznik||Nicolas Dular|
|15.6||2022-10-13||Nicolas Dular||Stanislav Dobrovolschii|
Work that arrives in ~"workflow::ready for development" that is out of scope or ill-defined should be returned to ~"workflow::planning breakdown" for further refinement. To avoid the disruption this introduces we try to reduce the number of times it happens by planning more carefully. While it's not always possible, we aim to identify complexity before the build phase, such as by assigning an engineering DRI during the design and validation phase.
However, sometimes complexity can't be accurately estimated until development work starts. If you anticipate this during planning, consider creating a spike to produce a design document. Notify the participants in the issue, especially the PM, that a spike is required, create a separate issue and follow these steps:
The deliverable is a design document that answers the questions set out in the issue description. This can simply be the issue itself, containing a summary of the discussion in the description, answers to the questions and links to any PoC MRs produced.
Points of weight delivered by the team in previous milestones, including a 3-month rolling average, are available in this chart. This allows for more accurate estimation of what we can deliver in future milestones.
As a team we often work on features that require close collaboration. We've identified a list of techniques and characteristics that help projects like this proceed at a pace that is sustainable, predictable, and challenging, yet rewarding. An example of such feature was Epic Linking.
Most issues, especially features, involve working with other disciplines. A single issue will often be shared between frontend and backend and it can be difficult to know which workflow label should be applied, especially when progress is at different stages.
To ensure visibility for other team-members, for issues with a frontend and backend component:
We value velocity over predictability so use your own judgement on whether you should wait for your counterpart to get involved before proceeding with development.
The ~"backend complete" label is added to issues with multiple specializations (usually backend and frontend) to indicate that the backend component is complete. Backend engineers should add this label when the backend work is functionally complete, merged and verified but frontend, or other, work is ongoing.
To help with visibility of whether or not an issue can be delivered in a milestone, the team uses health status to communicate quickly. At the beginning of a milestone, all issues relating to the primary deliverable are assigned the "On track" status. Throughout the milestone, feature DRIs are responsible for updating issues statuses when necessary. If the health status is set to a status that is not "On Track", feature DRIs should leave a comment with additional details about why and if there's a way others on the team can help. Using health status allows stakeholders, such as product and engineering managers, designers, and other engineers, to get a quick and easy overview of what is unlikely to make it into the current milestone.
Since all feature flags start as disabled by default, we should aim to document the feature as soon as it's safe for testing by users using the feature flag template. Don't wait until a feature is performant and stable to document it, instead do so once it's secure and won't leave data in a corrupt, interim state.
Try to include docs with the first MR to introduce usable functionality. If this is an API addition with no UI, document that and allow the FE engineers to update it as work proceeds. As the feature flag rollout proceeds, the documentation should be updated.
This avoids the rush to provide documentation that often accompanies the release cutoff.
(Sisense↗) MR Type labels help us report what we're working on to industry analysts in a way that's consistent across the engineering department. The dashboard below shows the trend of MR Types over time and a list of merged MRs.
More detail is available on our metrics page.
Product Planning is part of a test of new MR sub-type labels which are designed to make it easier to understand which top-level type should be applied. You can read more about them in the Work Type Classification section of the metrics page.
Note: MR Type may differ from issue type. For example, a ~"maintenance::dependency" change that supports a new ~"feature::enhancement".
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.
Items that are customer-facing deliverables and high impact are labeled with ~"direction". We strive to have these items in production by two days before the release cut-off to give ample time for validation.
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: