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Group Conversations

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Group Conversations are optional recurring meetings providing regular updates from GitLab teams on a rotating schedule. They are scheduled by People Operations Specialists and will automatically appear on your calendar. Everyone is invited to participate by adding questions and comments to the Google Doc linked in the calendar invite. Non-confidential group conversations are streamed live and shared publicly to our YouTube channel.

Over the years, GitLab has had Functional Group Updates and recently we've evolved FGUs to be more conversational and engaging.

In this video our CEO, Sid gives our team tips and tricks for their FGU. This still applies to Group Conversations.

Below is a guide to help everyone get the most out of these conversations. If you have suggestions for how to make the attendee or meeting leader experience please create an MR to update this page - everyone can contribute!

For Attendees

Attendance is optional. If you are unable to attend the Group Conversation at its scheduled time, don't let that hold you back! Watch the latest Group Conversation in the Google Drive folder found in the description of each update. If you have questions or a discussion to start, bring it to the #group-conversations Slack channel! Make sure to @tag the presenter!

Before the Call

  1. Please enter your questions or comments on the linked Google Doc. Preface your question with your full name (first and last name) because there might be other people with your first name on the call and it's helpful to newcomers if they are distinguished.
  2. Keep in mind that Group Conversations are recorded and shared publicly and that it's okay to opt out of using your name due to safety and privacy concerns.
  3. Please do not include customer names in your questions/comments.

During the Call

  1. Please be on time to the call.
  2. Be ready to ask your question out loud as it comes up in the queue.
  3. Enable “Show document outline” under the View menu to navigate the questions document more easily.
  4. Do not ask questions in Zoom chat.
  5. Not everything has to be a question. If you have a comment, bias to putting it into the Google Doc so that those who weren't able to attend the meeting live can see what you had to say (and any responses that arose from it).
  6. Thanking and recognizing people is very important.
  7. You can ask someone to present a slide to get more context.
  8. It's okay to add a question to the end of the queue in the Google Doc as the conversation is taking place.

For Meeting Leaders


Calls are scheduled by People Operations Specialists. If you need to reschedule, please switch your presenting day with another Group Conversation leader, by asking another leader in the #group-conversations channel publicly. People Operations Specialists is not responsible for finding a replacement for your day. If you've agreed to switch, please do the following:

Preparation Tips

A little bit of prepartion 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, you write down everything people should know and present only for a few minutes.


  1. You can invite someone within your team to give the update, it doesn't need to be the team lead, but the team lead is responsible for making sure that it is given.
  2. Make sure to add the link of the presentation to the GitLab Team Meetings Calendar invite at least 24 hours before the call takes place. This allows team members to see the presentation, to click links, have random access during the presentation, and to quickly scan the presentation if they missed it. Please also add who the speaker will be to the presentation and the invite. To do this, go to the GitLab Team Meetings calendar, find the event, click on more details and edit the description. People Ops will ping the appropriate team member at the 24-hour mark if the event hasn't been updated yet.
  3. Consider blocking off the 30 minutes before your scheduled to lead a Group Conversation


There are three layers of content in a presentation:

  1. Save time and ensure asynchronous communication by writing information on the slides. Many people will not be able to participate in Group Conversations, either live or recorded, but can read through the slides.
  2. Slides with a lot of text that can be read on their own with lots of links are appreciated.
  3. Please add the link to your Group Conversation recordings folder in Google Drive to the invite. This enables team members to easily review the recording afterward.
  4. If you want to present please consider posting a recording to YouTube at least a day before the meeting, link it from the Google Doc, and mention it in the relevant slack channels.
  5. Use this slide deck as template to your presentation. Presentations should allow editing (preferred) or commenting from everyone at GitLab.

30 Minutes Before the Call

  1. Give a heads up in #company-announcements on Slack if there is a video for the group conversation that you'd like people to watch beforehand.
  2. Open the questions Google Doc linked from the invite and skim the questions to get a sense of what you can expect.
  3. Enable “Show document outline” under the View menu to navigate the document more easily.
  4. Improve the hygiene of the questions doc to use numbered lists instead of bulleted lists, so you can refer to questions by number if needed later.
  5. Reduce distractions for yourself and the attendees by:
    • having the presentation open in its own new browser window, and only sharing that window in Zoom.
    • switching off notifications (from Slack, email, etc.). On Mac, in the notification center in the upper right hand corner, click on Notifications, select Do Not Disturb (sometimes you need to scroll up to see the option).

During the Call

Livestreaming the Call

We use Zoom, and all group conversations (Public and Private) will be livestreamed to YouTube by the Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). DRI must be Managers on the GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel. The Zoom link for each call is documented on Group Conversation Agenda document. It only takes a minute to set up the livestream, we would suggest going live 1 min before the call. To go live, follow the below instructions:

Other things to Note

  1. Right now, everyone at GitLab the company is invited to each call, we'll invite the wider community later.
  2. Join the call 2-3 minutes early to ensure you're ready when it starts.
  3. Right before the call begins, the call host will state (in their own words): "Ok, we're right about to go live. Going live now!"
  4. When the meeting starts introduce yourself and say a few words about what this call is about. For example, "Hello everyone, I'm Diane and I lead the [team]. I am looking forward to answer your questions."
  5. Do not present your slides. Invite the first person to verbalize their question, respond and when relevant mention a slide number. This is similar to what we do during board meetings.
  6. If someone can't verbalize their question (not in call, driving, audio problems) read it aloud for people watching only the video.
  7. Tone should be informal, like explaining to a friend what happened in the group last month, and shouldn't require a lot of presentation.
  8. It's the responsibility of the team members of the group to ensure the content is distributed, this includes ensuring appropriate notes are taken in the Group Conversation Agenda
  9. This meeting is scheduled to be 25 minutes long. Please keep an eye on the clock and end the meeting on schedule. This meeting must end no later than 29 minutes after the hour.
  10. It is not the end of the world if a call ends early, we aim for results, not for spending the time allotted.
  11. Don't do a countdown when you're asking for questions, people will not ask one. Just end the call or even better say: we'll not end the call before getting at least one question.
  12. If there are more questions or a need for longer conversation, mention on what chat channel the conversation can continue or link to a relevant issue.

After the Call

  1. All calls are published live to YouTube, with the exception of Finance, Sales, Security, Channel, and Partnerships. Every call is reviewed live to change livestream to private should anything confidential arise.
  2. The conversation is also announced on and the recording linked from our company call agenda.
  3. Calls are 5 times a week 30 minutes before the company call, 8:00 to 8:25am Pacific.
  4. The call is recorded automatically, and all calls are transferred every hour to a Google Drive folder called "GitLab Videos", which is accessible to all users with a e-mail account.
  5. Video recordings will be published on our blog so contributors, users, and customers can see it. We're aiming to publish a blog post once a week of that weeks' recordings with the matching slides in one go.
  6. Slides with a lot of text that can be read on their own with lots of links are appreciated.

Template for the blog post

For instructions on how to create a blog post, please see our Blog Handbook.

Please copy the code block below and paste it into a blog post with the file name

title: "GitLab's Functional Group Updates - MMM DD-DD" # replace "MMM" with the current month, and "DD-DD" with the date range
author: Name Surname
author_twitter: twitter-username
categories: Functional Group Updates
image_title: '/images/blogimages/functional-group-update-blog-cover.jpg'
description: "The Functional Groups at GitLab give an update on what they've been working on"

<!-- beginning of the intro - leave it as is -->

Every day from Monday to Thursday, right before our [GitLab Company call](/handbook/#company-call), a different Group initiates a [conversation](/handbook/people-operations/group-conversations/) with our team.

The format of these calls is simple and short where attendees have access to the presentation content and presenters can either give a quick presentation or jump straight into the agenda and answering questions.

<!-- more -->

## Recordings

All of the updates are recorded using [Zoom]( at the time of the call. All the recordings will be uploaded to our YouTube account and made public, with the exception of the Sales and Finance updates.

<!-- end of the intro -->

<!-- beginning of the FG block - repeat as many times as necessary (copy and paste the entire block) -->


### XXX Team

[Presentation slides](link-to-slides-deck)

<figure class="video_container">
  <iframe src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true"> </iframe>

<!-- end of the FG block -->

<!-- beginning of the FG block - repeat as many times as necessary (copy and paste the entire block) -->


### XXX Team

[Presentation slides](link-to-slides-deck)

<figure class="video_container">
  <iframe src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true"> </iframe>

<!-- end of the FG block -->


Questions? Leave a comment below or tweet [@GitLab](! Would you like to join us? Check out our [job openings](/jobs/)!

Presentation - [Input your presentation's URL and check if its set to view only for anyone with the link if using Google Slides]

Schedule & DRI

There is a rotating schedule with each functional group having a conversation on a regular interval. The schedule with directly responsible individuals (DRI) is as follows:

Week Day Group Conversation DRI
One Mon Secure Section Kenny Johnston
One Tue Ops Section Kenny Johnston
One Wed Sales Development Evan Welchel
One Thur Marketing Todd Barr
One Fri Open Open
Two Mon Security Kathy Wang
Two Tue Dev Section Eric Brinkman
Two Wed Quality Mek Stittri
Two Thur UX Christie Lenneville
Two Fri Open Open
Three Mon Growth Section Scott Williamson
Three Tue Support Tom Cooney
Three Wed Development Christopher Lefelhocz
Three Thur Finance Paul Machle
Three Fri Open Open
Four Mon Security Kathy Wang
Four Tue General Sid Sijbrandij
Four Wed CRO Group Conversation Michael McBride
Four Thur People Operations Carol Teskey
Four Fri Defend Section Kenny Johnston
Five Mon Product Scott Williamson
Five Tue CI/CD Section Jason Lenny
Five Wed Product Marketing Ashish Kuthiala
Five Thur Infrastructure Gerir Lopez-Fernandez
Five Fri Open Open
Six Mon Security Kathy Wang
Six Tue Meltano Danielle Morrill
Six Wed Alliances Brandon Jung
Six Thur Community Relations David Planella
Six Fri Enablement Josh Lambert


A possible agenda for the call is:

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Concerns
  3. Stalled/need help
  4. Plans
  5. Questions and discussions live or in chat