The Product Intelligence Group is part of the Growth section. Our group focuses on providing GitLab's team with data-driven product insights to build a better GitLab. To do this, we build data collection and analytics tools within the GitLab product in a privacy-focused manner. Insights generated from Product Intelligence enables us to identify the best places to invest people and resources, what product categories mature faster, where our user experience can be improved, and how product changes impact the business. You can learn more about what we're building next on the Product Intelligence Direction page.
How we work:
The following people are permanent members of the Product Intelligence Group:
|Nicolas Dular||Acting Fullstack Engineering Manager, Product Intelligence|
|Alina Mihaila||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Alishan 'Ali' Ladhani||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Mikołaj Wawrzyniak||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Axel García||Frontend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Piotr Skorupa||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Luis Mejia||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
|Rajendra Kadam||Backend Engineer, Product Intelligence|
Our team uses a hybrid of Scrum for our project management process. This process follows GitLab's monthly milestone release cycle.
Our team use the following workflow stages defined in the Product Development Flow:
||Applied by the Product Manager for incoming issues that have not been refined or prioritized.|
||Applied by the Product Manager for issues where the PM is developing a thorough understanding of the problem|
||Applied by the Product Manager or Designer (or Product Intelligence Engineer) to ideate and propose solutions. The proposed solutions should be reviewed by engineering to ensure technical feasibility.|
||Applied by the Product Manager or Designer (or Product Intelligence Engineer) to validate a proposed solution through user interviews or usability testing.|
||Applied by the Product Manager for Engineers to begin breaking down issues and adding estimates.|
||Applied by either Engineering or Product Manager after an issue has been broken down and scheduled for development.|
||Applied by the Engineer after work (including documentation) has begun on the issue. An MR is typically linked to the issue at this point.|
||Applied by the Engineer indicating that all MRs required to close an issue are in review.|
||Applied by the Engineer after the MRs in the issue have been merged, this label is applied signaling the issue needs to be verified in staging or production.|
||Applied by the Engineer after all MRs have merged and the issue has been verified. At this step, the issue should be closed as complete.|
||Applied by any team member if at any time during development the issue is blocked. For example: technical issue, open question to PM or PD, cross-group dependency.|
We use an epic roadmap to track epic progress on a quarterly basis. The epic roadmap is a live view of the Product Intelligence Direction page.
To keep things simple, we primarily use the gitlab.com/gitlab-org group for our roadmap. If epics are created on the gitlab.com/gitlab-com and gitlab.com/gitlab-services groups, we create placeholders of them on gitlab.com/gitlab-org so that all epics show up in a single roadmap view.
|gitlab-org Epic Roadmap||-||-|
We use issue boards to track issue progress on a daily basis. Issue boards are our single source of truth for the status of our work. Issue boards should be viewed at the highest group level for visibility into all nested projects in a group.
There are three groups we use:
|gitlab-org Issue Board||gitlab-com Issue Board||gitlab-services Issue Board||Issue Board by Milestone|
We prioritize our product roadmap in the Issue Board by Milestone. Issues appear on each list in order of priority and prioritization of our product roadmap is determined by our product managers.
Engineers can find and open the milestone board for Product Intelligence. Engineers should start at the top of the board and pick the first available, non-assigned issue which is labeled
Ready for development. When picking an issue, the engineer should assign themselves as a signal that they are taking ownership of the issue.
If the next available issue is not a viable candidate (due to amount of capacity vs. issue weight, complexity, knowledge domain, etc.) the engineer may choose to skip an issue in milestone list and pick the next issue in order of priority.
The following table will be used as a guideline for scheduling work within the milestone:
|Type||% of Milestone||Description|
|Deliverable||70%||business priorities (compliance, IACV, efficiency initiatives)|
|Tech debt||10%||nominated by engineers prior to milestone start in Milestone Planning Issue|
|Other||20%||engineer picks, critical security/data/availability/regression, urgent business priorities|
If all work within a milestone is picked, engineers are free to choose what to work on. Acceptable options include:
We follow the iteration process outlined by the Engineering function.
We follow the estimation process outlined by the Growth sub-department.
To properly set expectations for product managers and other stakeholders, our team may decide to add a due date onto an issue. Due dates are not meant to pressure our team but are instead used to communicate an expected delivery date.
We may also use due dates as a way to timebox our iterations. Instead of spending a month on shipping a feature, we may set a due date of a week to force ourselves to come up with a smaller iteration.
Refinement is the responsibility of every team member. Every Friday, Slack will post a refinement reminder in our group channel. During refinement, we make sure that every issue on the issue board is kept up to date with the necessary details and next steps.
Each engineer is expected to provide a quick async issue update by commenting on their assigned issues using the following template:
<!--- Please be sure to update the workflow labels of your issue to one of the following (that best describes the status)" - ~"workflow::In dev" - ~"workflow::In review" - ~"workflow::verification" - ~"workflow::blocked" --> ### Async issue update 1. Please provide a quick summary of the current status (one sentence). 1. When do you predict this feature to be ready for maintainer review? 1. Are there any opportunities to further break the issue or merge request into smaller pieces (if applicable)? 1. Were expectations met from a previous update? If not, please explain why.
We do this to encourage our team to be more async in collaboration and to allow the community and other team members to know the progress of issues that we are actively working on.
The specific application of this timeline to the Product Intelligence Milestone planning process is summarized below and in this recorded overview video.
2-3 weeks prior to the start of the next milestone
2 weeks prior to the start of the next milestone
1 week prior to start of the next milestone
~"workflow::ready for development"
Current Month 22nd
Start of Milestone
Our milestone capacity tells us how many issue weights we can expect to complete in a given milestone. This is calculated by taking the sum of issue weights completed in the last milestone prorated by holidays. If there is a large variation in the estimated capacity of the last milestone and the one before it, we will use an average estimated capacity of the last few milestones. Here is an example of how we calculate capacity:
In this example, the current milestone capacity is 31 weights.
A milestone commitment is a list of issues our team aims to complete in the milestone. The product team follows our GitLab pricinciple of planning ambitiously and therefore expect that we won't always be able to deliver everything that we wanted in every milestone. After issues are broken down, estimated, and prioritized, the product manager will apply the
~Deliverable label to applicable issues. Issues marked with the
~Deliverable label represent the commitment we are intending to ship in that milestone.
To help our team be efficient, we explicitly define how our team uses epics and issues.
We aim to create issues in the same project as where the future merge request will live. And we aim to create epics at the topmost-level group that makes the most sense for its collection of child epics and issues. For example, if an experiment is being run in the CustomersDot, the epic should be created in the
gitlab-org group, and the issue should be created in the
We emphasize creating the epic at the topmost-level group so that it will show up on our epic roadmap. And we emphasize creating the issue in the right project to avoid having to close and move it later in the development process. If the location of the future merge request cannot be determined, we will create the issue in our catch-all growth team-tasks project.
We used to aim for a 1:1 ratio between issues and merge requests, mainly for the sake of status visibility at the issue board level. We have since moved to using epics and the epic roadmap for product management visibility, and we are comfortable with the amount of status updates received during our weekly sync meetings as well as through comments within issues themselves.
If an issue requires multiple merge requests, we no longer recommend splitting the issue itself up in order to maintain a 1:1 ratio of issues to MRs. The advantage is that an engineer is able to create an arbitrary number of MRs for a single issue and can move much more quickly through them. The trade-off is that doing so makes it more difficult to communicate the overall status of the issue itself. It is the engineer's responsibility to make sure that the status of each issue they are working on is effectively communicated to their Product Manager.
We group related issues together using parent epics and child epics, providing us with a better visual overview of our roadmap.
[Product]to indicate their area of focus. The prefixes can be combined if the epic holds issues of different areas, e.g.
UXto easily filter epics.
After a design is done, the design issue needs to be set to
workflow::planning breakdown and engineering takes over the process of breaking it down. The design issue can be closed after break down is done.
Epics can contain issues and/or child epics. A child epic could for example be the first iteration of the parent epic. An example of how the structure of an epic could look:
Epics have the following limitations:
gitlab-orgfrom an epic created in
gitlab-orgcan't link to an issue created in
To overcome this, we will:
The parent epic should live on the top-level group where most of the issues and child epics will be created.
We use issue labels to keep us organized. Every issue has a set of required labels that the issue must be tagged with. Every issue also has a set of optional labels that are used as needed.
~"workflow::ready for development,
~"workflow::in dev, etc.
MR labels can mirror issue labels (which is automatically done when created from an issue), but only certain labels are required for correctly measuring engineering performance.
We tag each issue and MR with the planned milestone or the milestone at time of completion.
Our group holds synchronus meetings to gain additional clarity and alignment on our async discussions. We aim to record all of our meetings as our team members are spread across several timezones and often cannot attend at the scheduled time.
We recognize that just as an issue may be broken down into multiple merge requests, so can iteration of a feature be spread across several MRs, especially with the use of feature flags.
All new team members to the Product Intelligence teams are provided two onboarding issues to help ramp up on our analytics tooling. New team member members should create their own onboarding issues in the gitlab-org/growth/team-tasks project. Note that this template lives in our handbook page instead of inside a GitLab template as it provides better visibility for incoming team members.
## Overview The goal of this issue is to introduce you to how usage ping works. Your first task is to locally replicate the sending and receiving of a Usage Ping. In order to do this, you will traverse the gitlab and versions codebases to see how a usage ping is sent and collected. Please work with your onboarding buddy if you have any questions. ## Steps - [ ] Read the [Product Intelligence Guide](https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/product/product-intelligence-guide/) - [ ] Read the [Usage Ping Guide](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/usage_ping/) - [ ] Clone and start https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab - [ ] Clone and start https://gitlab.com/gitlab-services/version-gitlab-com - [ ] Setup versions to listen for incoming usage pings - [ ] Point gitlab to the versions endpoint instead of the default endpoint - [ ] In gitlab via rails console, manually trigger a usage ping - [ ] In versions via rails console, check that a usage ping was successfully received, parsed, and stored in the Versions database. - [ ] Notify your manager and onboarding buddy once this issue is complete - [ ] Ask your manager to add you to the [/gitlab-org/growth/product-intelligence/engineers/](https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-org/growth/product-intelligence/engineers/-/group_members) so that you can start doing [Product Intelligence reviews](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/usage_ping/#9-ask-for-a-product-intelligence-review) - [ ] Close off this issue
## Overview The goal of this issue is to introduce you to how Snowplow works. Your first task is to locally replicate the sending and receiving of Snowplow events. In order to do this, you will traverse the gitlab and snowplow codebases to see how a snowplow event is sent and collected. Please work with your onboarding buddy if you have any questions. ## Steps - [ ] Read the [Product Intelligence Guide](https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/product/product-intelligence-guide/) - [ ] Read the [Snowplow Guide](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/snowplow/index.html) - [ ] Clone and start GitLab https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab - [ ] Clone and read through the readme for Snowplow Iglu https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/iglu - [ ] Clone and start Snowplow Micro https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/snowplow/index.html#snowplow-micro - [ ] Add a Snowplow event using HAML https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/snowplow/index.html#tracking-in-haml-or-vue-templates - [ ] Add a Snowplow event using Ruby https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/snowplow/index.html#implementing-snowplow-ruby-backend-tracking - [ ] Using your browser, navigate to wherever the event was added and trigger all the added Snowplow events (HAML, Ruby) - [ ] In Snowplow Micro, ensure all of the above mentioned events are successfully captured as good events in `localhost:9090/micro/good` - [ ] Notify your manager and onboarding buddy once this issue is complete - [ ] Ask your manager to add you to the [/gitlab-org/growth/product-intelligence/engineers/](https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-org/growth/product-intelligence/engineers/-/group_members) so that you can start doing [Product Intelligence reviews](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/development/usage_ping/#9-ask-for-a-product-intelligence-review) - [ ] Close off this issue
|Product Intelligence Guide||A guide to Product Intelligence|
|Usage Ping Guide||An implementation guide for Usage Ping|
|Snowplow Guide||An implementation guide for Snowplow|
|Event Dictionary||A SSoT for all collected metrics and events|
|Implementing Product Performance Indicators||The workflow for putting product performance indicators in place|
|Product Intelligence Direction||The roadmap for Product Intelligence at GitLab|
|Product Intelligence Development Process||The development process for the Product Intelligence groups|
|Growth Product Direction||The roadmap for Growth at GitLab|
|Growth Product Handbook||The product process for the Growth sub-department|
|Growth Sub-Department Development Process.||The development process for the Growth sub-department|
|Growth Sub-Department Performance Indicators Process||The performance indicators for the Growth sub-department|
|Growth UX Process||The UX process for the Growth sub-department|
|Growth QE Process||The QE process for the Growth sub-department|
|GitLab Performance Snowplow Dashboards||Performance dashbaords for GitLab.com via Snowplow|