Group Conversations are recurring 25 minute meetings providing regular updates across all GitLab teams on a rotating schedule. Functions with a Key Review will also be scheduled for a Group Conversation with the exception of Legal. Team member attendance is optional for Group Conversations.
The Executive Business Administrator Team, also known as EBA Team are responsible for scheduling these events which should automatically appear within the GitLab Team Meetings Calendar from 08:00am to 08:25am Pacific Standard Time (PST) from Tuesday to Thursday. We do not hold Group Conversations on Monday as there are not enough Group Conversations to consistently have them on a 4th weekday, every week. Some days might not have a Group Conversation scheduled in advance. These are listed in the schedule as Available. If you would like to be added to the GC rotation, please post in the slack channel #group-conversations and tag @exec-admins. The EBA to the CEO will schedule an AMA with an E-Group member if there is availability. We will have a Group Conversation or an AMA every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
All Team Members are invited to participate in Group Conversations by adding questions and comments in the Group Conversation Agenda, a Google Doc linked in the respective calendar invite. While 8:00am PST is not optimal for synchronous participation from all team members, we have done experiments to confirm that early morning PST is the time that works for the greatest number of team members. When we held GCs during different times, we saw participation fall by over 50%. The folks who opted to attend as a percent of folks who could do so during a 8am to 6pm workday was also lower for the experiment group. Team members who want to participate but choose not to attend in person are encouraged to embrace asynchronous communication by contributing questions or comments in advance of meetings and watching recordings or reading notes after.
Non-confidential Group Conversations are streamed live and shared publicly to our GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel. Confidential Group Conversations which are not streamed live or shared publicly to YouTube include Finance; Sales; Security and Partnerships.
Group Conversations at GitLab were previously known as Functional Group Updates (FGU) and were renamed because they're not presentations or updates but rather conversations - the term Functional Groups is now encompassed by the use of Departments.
In this video our CEO, Sid gives team members tips and tricks for hosting a FGU which are still relevant and applicable to Group Conversations.
Below is a guide to ensure everyone gets the most out of Group Conversations. If you have suggestions for improving the Attendee or Meeting Leader experience please create a Merge Request (MR) to update this page — everyone can contribute!
It's common to wonder what the difference is between these two meetings. Generally, they cover the same or similar content, but for different audiences.
|Key Review||Group Conversation|
|Audience||Management||General GitLab Team|
The Key Review is intended for senior experts to ask questions. The Group Conversation is open to the entire GitLab team to ask questions. We have both to give the senior experts enough time to ask questions since the Group Conversations can have 100+ attendees. Both are also a good place for sharing news and explaining initiatives. The same deck must be used for both calls. Here's a brief discussion of why we have both meetings, and how they can operate effectively:
The Host of a Zoom call is the person leading the conversation, usually the DRI, subject matter expert and overseer of the slides created for a call (another term for the role is Presenter).
Questions will generally be directed to the Host, and they will usually answer them unless they feel that another team member has more information or expertise to offer. The Host/Presenter makes sure that questions are asked in the order they are listed in the agenda document.
The "Host" term can be confusing as Zoom has a specific definition for Host pertaining mainly to a permission level, which in practice GitLab does not assign to the term. More information on Zoom's definition of "host" is explained in the Moderator section below.
Before you host your first Group Conversation, please be sure complete this Group Conversation Training Issue which will support you in your preparations.
The Moderator of a Zoom call is the person that has Zoom's Host level permission. Host level permission in Zoom permits streaming a call to YouTube, starting or ending a recording and giving co-hosting permissions to others.
The Moderator of a Zoom call is the person who is in charge of starting the call i.e. initiating the streaming to YouTube; updating the stream from public to private if a sensitive topic is mentioned, and keeping the meeting running efficiently and on time so that it does not go over the Quick Meeting time frame.
Attendance of Group Conversations is optional - if you are unable to attend a Group Conversation at its scheduled time, don't let that hold you back! Watch the latest Group Conversation on the GitLab Unfiltered YouTube Channel. Alternatively Public Group Conversations can also be found in the GitLab Unfiltered Podcast.
If you have questions around an upcoming Group Conversation or would like to start a discussion, please be sure to bring it to the
#group-conversations Slack channel and @tag the presenter!
Group conversations will be planned for a quarter at a time based on the identified cadence and key review dates. In the handbook page, the Group Conversation schedule for the next 2 months will be posted. This is the SSOT for the schedule. It is up to each functional team’s EBA to ensure that the calendar invites are sent with zoom links in place. At the start of each month, the Handbook will be updated to remove the previous month and add the upcoming month of group conversations.
Calls are scheduled by the EBA Team.
If GC needs to be moved:
If you will be out of office on the day of your Group Conversation, or need a person other than the DRI listed in the Schedule & DRI table to Host:
If your Group Conversation falls on a day when you feel that a large percentage of the company may be OOO (for example, a Public Holiday observed by a number of countries). In such instances:
@exec-admins) in Slack in your thread and ask them to move your regularly scheduled GC to the open slot you have found. This will be a one-time move and all other instances of your GC will stay as scheduled.
All Zoom meetings now require passwords. If a Group Conversation event was created in Zoom prior to this rule, please ping the EBA team (
@exec-admins) in Slack to update the GC event in Zoom and in the GitLab Team Meetings calendar.
A little bit of preparation can go a long way in making the call worthwhile for everyone involved. People tend to spend at least an hour to prepare their updates.
Use presentations to document everything people should know about your group. If the GC is for a group that didn't have a Key Review, and are preparing new slides, the slides should start with the top 3-5 highlights or top of mind updates that are relevant across functions, followed by additional information. These presentations are for attendees to review and generate questions from for the call, and attendees will often have low context around your function or team.
Functions with Key Reviews should not create a new deck for a Group Conversation but should use their Key Review deck for the Group Conversation.
You can also record and upload a YouTube video if there is additional context that would be beneficial to supplement the slides.
Please remember that you should NOT present during a Group Conversation. Synchronous calls are for conversation and discussion. It is the responsibility of the attendees to prepare questions before the call to maximize value of time spent synchronously. If someone does start to present the slides in the group conversation everyone is encouraged to say: 'At GitLab we use meetings for conversation and not presentation, but please do consider recording a video for next time.' Expect to be interrupted if presenting more than a 15 second welcome statement.
There are three layers of content in a presentation:
Best practices for presentations:
For more general presentation best practices, please see our communication handbook's Presentation section.
We try not to cancel a GC. We prefer to have half-prepared GCs over delaying them, but occasionally there may be a last-minute cancellation or an open time slot on the calendar. If a Group Conversation is cancelled or if there is an opening in the schedule, the EBA Team should ask a member of the E-Group to host a Fill-In AMA. These should be called Fill-In AMAs so it's clear to team members that the AMA was added to the calendars solely as a function of a GC cancellation.
Groups that also have Key Reviews should repurpose material created for their last Key Review in the Group Conversation immediately following the Key Review. This is to give the broader team exposure to progress against key metrics and objectives that are key to the business and to reduce content duplication. Groups with Key Reviews will have a monthly GC.
EBA team are responsible for moderating the following calls on a rotational basis:
The teams will assist with moderating calls where the audience is applicable to all GitLab team members. In the event that a separate meeting needs to be scheduled on the team calendar with only a specified invitee list, the host or the EBA for the host's organization will be responsible for moderating the call.
Host of the meeting is responsible for starting the livestream or designating one of their team members to start the livestream for the following calls:
Whoever schedules the Zoom meeting (it is often the EBA) will enter who the host/s are in Zoom and can update the hosts at any time prior to the meeting. If you are delegating the hosting duties to another team member, please ping the #group-conversations channel and tag the @eba-team for to ensure the new host has host permissions to stream the meeting.
All Group Conversations (Public and Private) will be streamed to YouTube within the GitLab Unfiltered channel. Guidelines around streaming including initiating the livestream and troubleshooting should you hit a snag can be found on the YouTube Uses and Access page.
Additional links which may be useful when preparing to moderate a call include:
#group-conversationsSlack channel at least 72 hours prior to confirm whether they will be hosting or have nominated another team member to do so.
Group Conversation Agendato ensure there are 15 numbered lines below the Date; Topic; Host Name; and Slide Deck Link - this is where team members will be able to insert any questions they may have for the host.
5-minutes priorto the start of the Group Conversation using `EBA Zoom Account' if you are successfully logged into Zoom as the GitLab Moderator the Tanuki Logo will be visible in the upper right hand corner of your Zoom screen.
manage participants featureif necessary.
System Preferences, opening
Date and Timepreferences, and selecting
Display the Time with Seconds.
Please grant necessary Privilege for Livestreamingpops up, click on the option that appears beside the GitLab Unfiltered account in the middle of the page reading
Not Me- you will then be prompted to sign in again, please do so and click
Go Liveafterwhich Zoom should indicate
Live on YouTubein the upper left hand orner.
End Meetingand then
End Meeting for Allwithin Zoom - making this selection should end both the call and the stream - should this not be the case it is more than likely because an outdated version of Zoom is being used and the moderator will need to log directly into YouTube Studio and manually end the stream.
Speaker Viewsetting on Zoom.
The Group Conversation schedule is set quarterly. The schedule is finalized the week before the start of each quarter by the EBA to the CEO.
The Scheduling DRI for each GC is responsible for ensuring the GC Zoom is setup correctly, set to record to the cloud automatically, and that there is a specified person for livestreaming. If someone other than the EBA is livestreaming, the EBA will add that individual as an alternate host to the meeting via zoom. For details on how to successfully livestream, please see the considerations for livestreams in the handbook.
There is a rotating schedule with each Department having a conversation on a regular interval. We usually do not have Group Conversations or Company calls during the last two weeks of December. We also tend to cancel these during Contribute.
On 2022-02, we'll move our Group Conversations to make Group Conversations for groups without a Key Review optional. Functions with Key Reviews will continue to have Group Conversations within 10 days following their Key Review.
Please note: the frequency of Group Conversations does not recur on a specific cadence, but rather an estimated time (ex: the Portfolio Marketing GC could happen every other month, but does not happen specifically on the 4th Wednesday every other month). Groups Conversations without Key Reviews are optional, and these can be swapped with other groups without Key Reviews, or scheduled during an open day that is available as noted on the schedule.
If your GC is optional and you need to move the date, please work with your department's EBA to either trade or schedule an AMA in place of your GC.
|Group Conversation||DRI||Key Review?||GC Frequency||Alternate Hosts||Scheduling DRI|
|Marketing||Ashley Kramer||Yes||Twice per quarter||EBA to CMSO|
|Sales||Sales VPs||Yes (GTM Key Review shared with Marketing)||Monthly - rotates between VP of Commercial, VP of Enterprise, VP of Channel & VP of Customer Success||EBAs in Sales|
|Finance||Brian Robins||Yes||Twice per quarter||EBAs in Finance|
|People||Wendy Barnes||Yes||Twice per quarter||EBA to CPO|
|Product||Month PLT Leader Rotation||Yes||Twice per quarter||EBA to VP, Product|
|Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||Yes||Twice per quarter||EBA to Engineering|
|Support||Tom Cooney||Yes||Twice per quarter||@lbot @lyle @vparsons||EBA to Engineering|
|Security||Johnathan Hunt||Yes||Every other month||EBA to Engineering|
|UX||Christie Lenneville||Yes||Every other month||EBA to Engineering|
|Development||Christopher Lefelhocz||Yes||Every other month||EBA to Engineering|
|Quality||Mek Stittri||Yes||Every other month||EBA to Engineering|
|General||Sid Sijbrandij||No||Every other month||EBA to CEO|
|Alliances||Nima Badiey||No||Quarterly||EBA to VP of Alliances|
|AMAs||DRI||AMA Frequency||Alternate Hosts||Scheduling DRI|
|AMA with Sid Sijbrandij (CEO)||EBA to CEO||Every other month||N/A||EBA to CEO|
|Date||GC or AMA||DRI||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday July 5||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||June 23|
|Wednesday July 6||Available|
|Thursday July 7||UX||Christine Lenneville||June 30|
|Tuesday July 12||Customer Fireside Chat||N/A|
|Wednesday July 13||CRO||Michele Hodges||N/A|
|Thursday July 14||Brand Activation||Luke Babb||N/A|
|Tuesday July 19||Marketing||Ashley Kramer||N/A|
|Wednesday July 20||Finance||2022-07-20|
|Thursday July 21||General (CEO)||Sid Sijbrandij||Key Review Date|
|Tuesday July 26||Available|
|Wednesday July 27||Product||Product Leadership||July 21|
|Thursday July 28||Digital Experience||Michael Preuss||N/A|
|Tuesday Aug 2||EBA AMA||EBA's||N/A|
|Wednesday Aug 3||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday Aug 4||Development||Christopher Lefelhocz||July 27|
|Tuesday August 9||People||People||July 27|
|Wednesday August 10||Pet Friendly AMA||Robin Schulman||N/A|
|Thursday August 11||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||August 3|
|Tuesday August 16||Support||Tom Cooney||August 3|
|Wednesday August 17||Security||Johnathan Hunt||N/A|
|Thursday August 18||Available||N/A|
|Tuesday August 23||Quality||Mek Stittri||August 3|
|Wednesday August 24||Product||Product Leadership||N/A|
|Thursday August 25||People||People Leadership||August 18th|
|Tuesday August 30||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday August 31||Finance||Brian Robbins||August 23|
|Thursday September 1||CRO||Ryan O'Nell||August 25|
|Tuesday September 6||Marketing||Marketing Leadership||August 25|
|Wednesday September 7||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday September 8||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday September 13||Available|
|Wednesday September 14||Product||Product Leadership||September 1|
|Thursday September 15||Available|
|Tuesday September 20||CosT||Stella Treas||N/A|
|Wednesday September 21||General (CEO)||Sid Sijbrandij||N/A|
|Thursday September 22||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||September 14|
|Tuesday September 27||Quality||Mek Stittri||September 22|
|Wednesday September 28||Support||Tom Cooney||September 14|
|Thursday September 29||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||September 14|
|Tuesday October 4||Development||Christopher Lefelhocz||September 28|
|Wednesday October 5||Finance||Brian Robins||September 27|
|Thursday October 6||Available*||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday October 11||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday October 12||Remote Development||Eric Schurter||N/A|
|Thursday October 13||CRO Group Conversation||Mike Pyle/Michel Isnard||N/A|
|Tuesday October 18||Product||Product Leadership||October 13|
|Wednesday October 19||UX||Christie Lenneville||N/A|
|Thursday Oct 20||People||People Leadership||Oct 12|
|Tuesday October 25||Available||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday October 26||Alliances||Nima Badiey||N/A|
|Thursday October 27||Marketing||Marketing Leadership||October 13|
|Tuesday November 1||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday November 2||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday November 3||Security||Johnathan Hunt||October 25|
|Tuesday November 8||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||October 27|
|Wednesday November 9||Support||Tom Cooney||October 26|
|Thursday November 10||Product||Product Leadership||October 13|
|Tuesday November 15||UX||Christie Lenneville||October 13|
|Wednesday November 16||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday November 17||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday November 22||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday November 23||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday November 24||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday November 30||People||People Leadership||Nov 10|
|Tuesday December 6||Development||Christopher Lefelhocz||November 23|
|Wednesday December 7||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday December 8||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday December 13||Quality||Mek Stittri||December 1|
|Wednesday December 14||Product||Product Leadership||TBD|
|Thursday December 15||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday December 20||Infrastructure||Steve Loyd||December 8|
|Wednesday December 21||Support||Tom Cooney||December 7|
|Thursday December 22||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Tuesday December 27||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Wednesday December 28||Available||Key Review Date?|
|Thursday December 29||Available||Key Review Date?|
All of the public live streamed Group Conversations can be found on the GitLab Unfiltered Youtube channel Group Conversations playlist.
To request a new Group Conversation, please ping @exec-admins in the slack channel #group-conversations and they will assist you in finding an open slot.
We suggest each person attend via their own device to avoid hybrid meetings. We encourage you to follow up with your guest after to debrief and share call impressions. For this it might be good to be in the same room but only if you are sure not to get echo's.
#group-conversationsSlack Channel and provide the following information:
If an agenda document becomes longer than 10 pages, the EBA assigned to moderate a meeting will archive the content that is over the first 10 pages. All agenda docs should be checked and archived as needed before the meeting date and time.
Archiveat the end.
DOC NAME Archiveand link to the Archive doc.