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Use case: Source Code Management

Source Code Management

As organizations accelerate delivery, through DevOps, controlling and managing different versions of the application assets from code to configuration and from design to deployment is incredibly important. Velocity without robust version control and traceability is like driving a car with out a seatbelt.

Source code management is more than simply tracking changes, versions, and branches of code. Effectively, it includes practices such as:

In general, Source Code Management is required because software is constantly changing. Regardless of the stage of development, there will be change to deal with.

No matter where we are in the system life cycle, the system will change, and the desire to change it will persist throughout the life cycle.

E.H. Bersoff, 1980.

Changes are of different nature, here a short list:

Change Outcome
Requirements or features may change in scope Business changes
New team members may join Stakeholder changes
Docs are updated all the time Technical changes
Dependencies may have changed Technical changes
The actual code will change! Technical changes

The multiplicity of changes involve a myriad of users and stakeholders which bring to the picture their motivations and initiatives to the usage of source code management. The next exercise tries to condense them into user and buyer personas.


User Persona

Being the entry point to GitLab means that many user personas find utility and a solution to their problem in Source Code Management. Let's go through the list of power user personas and describe briefly their key motivations to use Source Code Management in GitLab:

Parker the Product Manager

Delaney the Development Team Lead

Sasha the Software Developer

Devon the DevOps Engineer

Buyer Personas

Source Code Management purchasing typically do not require executive involvement. It is usually acquired and installed via our freemium offering without procurement or IT's approval. This process is commonly known as shadow IT and its a great opportunity for us to eventually become a paid for service. When the upgrade is required the VP of IT is the most frequent decision maker. The influence of the VP Application Development is notable too to the owner of the budget.

Message House

A message house contains all the pieces of content that will clearly convey GitLab's values and differentiators in each touch point with prospects and clients. Each touchpoint should be worth their while and should also be relevant in their relationship with GitLab in order to move the needle in their decision-making process. In other words, every single item of the message house is in context with each persona, connect with their intents, resonates with their inflection points (value drivers) and provides an easy narrative of the SCM use case to lay out next steps and make progress.

The message house for the use case provides a structure to describe and discuss the value and differentiators for the use case.

Industry Analyst Resources

Research relevant to this use case can be found in the Analyst Reports - Use Cases spreadsheet.

Industry Analyst Relations (IAR) Plan

For a list of analysts with a current understanding of GitLab's capabilities for this use case, please reach out to Analyst Relations via Slack (#analyst-relations) or by submitting an issue and selecting the "AR-Analyst-Validation" template.

Market Requirements

Market Requirement Description Typical features that enable this capability Value / ROI
Protect and secure assets The solution provides mechanisms to host assets (repos), place and manage different change permissions for the users that access those repos as well as keep a detailed chain of custody of all changes these assets are subject of. Single sign-on, code ownership, change reviews, change approvals, IP whitelisting, Activity stream, GPG signed commit, Reject unsigned commits, Protected branches, branching, committer access rules, Compliance dashboard etc. Secures IP and valuable assets. Provides information on project history changes
Enterprise Ready The solution is robust enough to make critical functionality available at large scale, widely distributed teams in highly regulated markets High Availability, Git protocol v2 support, Deduplicate Git objects for forked repositories, Download single repository files, fast and responsive application, project templates, file templates, access controls, and traceability. Prevents outages and disruptions of development team work. Enables traceability to authors of changes to address defects or bugs in the product and auditability throughout
Supports numerous assets The solution is able to manage and maintain the version history of the diverse assets and support the development patterns that each asset implies Component reuse, traceability, design management, branching, diffing, merging, object storage, design versioning Able to manage assets and files for the entire development team, no matter how diverse, creating a single source of truth for the product configuration and making visibility and communication available at every level
Foster Collaboration The solution is designed to enable and foster collaboration among team members. It also streamlines agreed collaboration with automation of repetitive tasks Create fast new branches of the project, add new files/assets, collaborate on proposed changes, review comments, suggest changes, webIDE, suggestion approvals, conflict resolution, merge, diffing, hand-offs, Design management and operations, workflow automation, Wiki, snippets, version controlled snippets, Automatically update or close related issue(s) when a merge request is merged, Configurable issue closing pattern, display merge request status for builds in CI system, visibility into security scans and build stats. Code quality increase and improved release velocity through team review and validation.
Embed DevSecOps The solution allows for security practices to be enabled at the creation phases of the project Dependency scanning, SAST, License scanning, DAST, Container scanning Increasing resilience to external attacks, internal threats and ability to resume activity promptly
System Design and Architecture Browsing The solution should help design, manage and navigate the most common architectural patterns: from large monorepos (with components) to service-oriented architectures (microservices being an example of it) and provide Git Submodules, Comprehensive and easy to use web interface, webIDE By providing browsing of the structure of each component and the codebase as a whole, SCM solutions make concurrent work easier, onboarding faster and help define goals in the shape of deliverable units.

Top 3 Differentiators

Differentiator Value Proof Point
Distributed version control It allows for asynch, remote, collaborative work to flourish since a single copy of the complete project's history can be stored in any machine, branching is easy and powerful so almost endless workflow possibilities open in opposition to centralized VCS like Perforce or CVS. All the information different teams produce while collaborating on source code and other digital assets in GitLab can be easily analyzed, authorized and streamlined from the Merge Request with clockwork precision. This, in turn, allows for team leads to correctly implement best practice workflows like GitLab Flow – Stackoverflow's 2018 survey says 87% of respondents use Git (jump from 69% in 2015) as opposed to other centralized and distributed VCSs. Similar trend is captures in the Open Hub data. In 2019 they didn't even ask the question in the same survey. – Gartner's Market Guide for Software Change and Configuration Management from 2015 lays out clearly the advantages of DVCS. In 2019 Gartner assess SCM as part of Application Release Orchestration of which GitLab is a challenger as of 2019Google trends since 2004 compared to other DVCS and CVCSs.
Single Application The ability to connect every phase of the Software Development Lifecycle in one single DevOps platform. One data layer, one design system, one set of commands to manage all the different stages of software design, development, build and deployment General proof points of the single app
Product Development Management GitLab is the only product that increasingly provides collaboration functionality to Product teams that work not only with source code but also and IP, graphic assets, animations and binaries to mention a few. Forrester's Adopt Product Management to Connect Design and Development clearly states that "Siloed Design And Dev Teams Deliver Subpar Software"

Competitive Comparison


Proof Points - Customer Recognitions

General proof points and Customer Recognition

Quotes and reviews

Gartner Peer Insights

Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates. Obvious typos have been amended.

"The software is intuitive and quite easy to use. Since many software development projects require more than one person, this makes it easy to create teams and collaborate."

"Improves productivity of engineers by providing easy and fast ways to keep feature branches and merge them quickly and efficiently."

"Keeps your software projects under control. Rogue developers are kept at bay via enforced review processes and pipelines."

"For managing git repositories it is the best product available right now in the market."

"This has really aided in our ability to automate software delivery and return wasted overhead back to the pool of resources! This is a very simple to use and fast delivery tool to assist your code pipeline."

"We use this platform in our company to version our source [code] ensure they are up to date and as a backup option. It enables us build scalable and high quality products. Ease of use and compatible with most development environments."

"I appreciate its ability to run limitless. It has various features like issue tracker, protected branches and merge requests, which gives very nice experience."

"Gitlab is a very useful SCM. In our [organization] we have used it as a source code repository. We have extensively used branching and tags creation feature. As we work in a sprints, we have several sprint and feature branches."

"GitLab is a superb source code management [provider]."

"Before GitLab, we used to make local copies of code or backup the code and then pass on the code through the server. But if our organization knew about GitLab from start, we would have immediately integrated with our development practises for ease of deployment."

Case Studies

ESA (European Space Agency)

Goldman Sachs


NorthWestern Mutual Commit San Francisco 2020: Why we chose GitLab as our Enterprise SCM Deck

References to help you close

Links to Salesforce References Note: Sales team members should have access to this report. If you do not have access, reach out to the customer reference team for assistance.

Key Value (at tiers)





Source Code Management Videos

Git Training

Integrations Demo Videos

Clickthrough & Live Demos

Talks and customer References