GitLab believes in Open Development, and we encourage the community to file issues and open merge requests for our projects on GitLab.com. Their contributions are valuable, and we should handle them as effectively as possible. A central part of this is triage - the process of categorization according to type and severity.
Any GitLab team-member can triage issues. Keeping the number of un-triaged issues low is essential for maintainability, and is our collective responsibility. Consider triaging a few issues around your other responsibilities, or scheduling some time for it on a regular basis.
We define two levels of triage.
An issue is considered partially triaged when:
~"UX Debt") It has a severity label applied.
~"group:editor"). If no group label exists, the stage label is enough.
An issue is considered completely triaged when:
~"UX Debt") It has a priority label applied.
The priority label is used to indicate the importance and guide the scheduling of the issue. Priority labels are expected to be adjusted by the Product Manager based on the circumstances of the market, product direction, IACV impact, and capacity of the team.
|~priority::1||Urgent||We will address this as soon as possible regardless of the limit on our team capacity. Our target resolution time is 30 days.||PM of that product group|
|~priority::2||High||We will address this soon and will provide capacity from our team for it in the next few releases. This will likely get resolved in 60-90 days.||PM of that product group|
|~priority::3||Medium||We want to address this but may have other higher priority items. No timeline designated.||PM of that product group|
|~priority::4||Low||We don't have visibility when this will be addressed. No timeline designated.||PM of that product group|
Severity labels help us determine urgency and clearly communicate the impact of a
~bug on users. There can be multiple categories of a
The presence of bug category labels
~UX denotes to use the severity definition in that category.
|General bugs||Broken feature with no workaround.||Broken feature with an unacceptably complex workaround.||Broken feature with a workaround.||Functionality is inconvenient.|
|Above 9000ms to timing out||Between 2000ms and 9000ms||Between 1000ms and 2000ms||Between 500ms and 1000ms||Enablement Quality Engineering team|
||See Availability section||See Availability section||See Availability section||See Availability section|
||See Security Prioritization||See Security Prioritization||See Security Prioritization||See Security Prioritization|
||"I can't figure this out." Users are blocked (or so confused that they believe they are blocked), and are likely to ask for support.||"I can figure out why this is happening, but it's really painful to solve." Users are significantly delayed by the available workaround.||"This still works, but I have to make small changes to my process." Users are self sufficient in completing the task with the workaround, but may be somewhat delayed.||"There is a small inconvenience or inconsistency." Usability isn't ideal or there is a small cosmetic issue.||Product Designers of that Product group|
|Global Search||See Search Prioritization||See Search Prioritization||See Search Prioritization||See Search Prioritization|
If a issue seems to fall between two severity labels, assign it to the higher severity label.
The severity label also helps us define the time a ~bug or ~"corrective action" of that severity should be completed. This indicates the expected timeline & urgency which is used to measure our SLO targets.
|Severity||Incident root cause analysis
||1 week||The current release + next available deployment to GitLab.com (within 30 days)|
||30 days||The next release (60 days)|
||60 days||Within the next 3 releases (approx one quarter or 90 days)|
||90 days||Anything outside the next 3 releases (more than one quarter or 120 days).|
~availability label directly impacts the availability of GitLab.com SaaS. It is considered as another category of
~bug. For the purposes of Incident Management, incident issue severities are chosen based on the
availability severity matrix below.
We categorize these issues based on the impact to GitLab.com's customer business goal and day to day workflow.
The prioritization scheme adheres to our product prioritization where security and availability work are prioritized over feature velocity.
The presence of these severity labels modifies the standard severity labels(
~severity::4) by additionally taking into account the impact as described below. The severity of these issues may change depending on the re-analysis of the impact to GitLab.com customers.
If, when selecting a severity for an availability issue, the availabilty impact is unclear or meets aspects of more than one severity in the table (example: the issue only impacts 5% of our users, but no workaround is available), select the highest severity applicable to the issue.
|Severity||Availability impact||Time to mitigate (TTM)(1)||Time to resolve (TTR)(2)||Minimum priority|
||Roadblock on GitLab.com and blocking customer's business goals and day to day workflow
Impacts 50% or more of users
|Within 8 hrs||Within 48 hrs||
||Significant impact on GitLab.com and customer's day-to-day workflow. Customers have an acceptable workaround in place.
Impacts between 25%-50% of users
Deployment blocking incident anywhere in the deployment pipeline
|Within 24 hrs||Within 7 days||
||Broad impact on GitLab.com and minor inconvenience to customer's day-to-day workflow. No workaround needed.
Impacts up to 25% of users
|Within 72 hrs||Within 30 days||
||Minimal impact on GitLab.com, no known customers affected
Impacts less than 5% of users
|Within 7 days||Within 60 days||
(1) - Mitigation uses non-standard work processes, eg. hot-patching, critical code and configuration changes. Owned by Infrastructure department, leveraging available escalation processes (dev-escalation and similar)
(2) - Resolution uses standard work processes, eg. code review. Scheduling is owned by the Product department, within the defined SLO targets.
To call out specifics on what priorities can be set on an availability issue, please refer to the prioritization band table below.
|Issue with the labels||Allowed priorities||Not-allowed priorities|
Improving performance: It may not be possible to reach the intended response time in one iteration. We encourage performance improvements to be broken down. Improve where we can and then re-evaluate the next appropriate level of severity & priority based on the new response time.
This run happens nightly and results are outputted to the wiki on the GPT project.
Issues labeled as
~UX Debt can also have a severity and priority labels applied without an accompanying
~bug label. UX Debt results from the decision to release a user-facing feature that needs refinement, with the intention to improve it in subsequent iterations. Because it is an intentional decision,
~UX Debt should not have a severity higher than
~severity::3, because MVCs should not intentionally have obvious bugs or significant usability problems.
A transient bug is unexpected, unintended behavior that does not always occur in response to the same action.
Transient bugs give users conflicting impressions about what is happening when they take action, may not consistently occur, and last for a short period of time. While these bugs may not block a user's workflow and are usually resolved by a total page refresh, they are detrimental to the user experience and can build a lack of trust in the product. Users can become unsure about whether the data they are seeing is stale, fresh, or has even updated after they took an action. Examples of transient behaviors include:
In order to define an issue as a "transient bug," use the
Initial triage involves (at a minimum) labelling an issue appropriately, so un-triaged issues can be discovered by searching for issues without any labels.
Follow one of these links:
Pick an issue, with preference given to the oldest in the list, and evaluate it with a critical eye, bearing the issue triage practices below in mind. Some questions to ask yourself:
~securitylabel be appropriate?
~securityissues or issues that contain private information.
Apply each label that seems appropriate. Issues with a security impact should be treated specially - see the security disclosure process.
If the issue seems unclear - you aren't sure which labels to apply - ask the requester to clarify matters for you. Keep our user communication guidelines in mind at all times, and commit to keeping up the conversation until you have enough information to complete triage.
Check for duplicates! Searching for some keywords in the issue should give you a short list of possibilities to scan through. Check both open and closed issues, as it may be a duplicate of a solved problem.
Consider whether the issue is still valid. Especially for older issues, a
~bug may have been fixed since it was reported, or a
~feature may have already been implemented.
Be sure to check cross-reference notes from other issues or merge requests, they are a great source of information!
For instance, by looking at a cross-referenced merge request, you could see a "Picked into
8-13-stable, will go into
8.13.6." which would mean that the issue is fixed since the version
If the issue meets the requirements, it may be appropriate to make a scheduling request - use your judgement!
You're done! The issue has all appropriate labels, and may now be in the backlog, closed, awaiting scheduling, or awaiting feedback from the requestor. Pick another, if you've got the time.
That said, we can't automate everything. In this section we'll describe some of the practices we're doing manually.
For issues that haven't been updated in the last 3 months the "Awaiting Feedback" label should be added to the issue. After 14 days, if no response has been made by anyone on the issue, the issue should be closed. This is a slightly modified version of the Rails Core policy on outdated issues.
If they respond at any point in the future, the issue can be considered for reopening. If we can't confirm an issue still exists in recent versions of GitLab, we're just adding noise to the issue tracker.
Before opening a new issue, make sure to search for keywords and verify your issue isn't a duplicate.
Checking for and/or reporting duplicates when you notice them.
All things held equal, the earliest issue should be considered the canonical version. If one issue has a better title, description, and/or more comments and positive reactions, it should be prioritized over earlier issues even if it's a duplicate.
We simply can't satisfy everyone. We need to balance pleasing users as much as possible with keeping the project maintainable.
When an issue comes in, it should be triaged and labeled. Issues without labels are harder to find and often get lost.
Sort by "Author: your username" and close any issues which you know have been fixed or have become irrelevant for other reasons. Label them if they're not labeled already.
If it's a question, or something vague that can't be addressed by the development team for whatever reason, close it and direct them to the relevant support resources we have (e.g. https://about.gitlab.com/get-help/, our Discourse forum or emailing Support).
If you notice a common pattern amongst various issues (e.g. a new feature that doesn't have a dedicated label yet), suggest adding a new label in Slack or a new issue.
If possible, ask the reporter to reproduce the issue in a public project on GitLab.com. You can also try to do so yourself in the issue-reproduce group. You can ask any owner of that group for access.
During triage rounds you may come across issues that look like Spam. These issues can be reported to the abuse team in the
#abuse Slack channel or using the "Report User" function on the issue author's profile page
We also hold regular, quarterly events where the Community, Core Team Members and Team Members can contribute to tackling some of our open issues. Please see the dedicated page for further information and upcoming event dates.
The original issue about these policies is #17693. We'll be working to improve the situation from within GitLab itself as time goes on.
The following projects, resources, and blog posts were very helpful in crafting these policies:
Our current response time standard is based on the TTFB P90 results of the GitLab Performance Tool (GPT) being run against the 10k-user reference environment. ↩