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!
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
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.
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.
Please do not include customer names in your questions/comments.
During the Call
Please be on time to the call.
Be ready to ask your question out loud as it comes up in the queue.
Enable “Show document outline” under the View menu to navigate the questions document more easily.
Do not ask questions in Zoom chat.
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).
Thanking and recognizing people is very important.
You can ask someone to present a slide to get more context.
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:
Go to the GitLab Team calendar invite
Update the date of your and the other invite to be switched
Choose to send an update to the invitees
If prompted with the questions to update 1 or all events, choose to only update this event
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.
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.
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.
Consider blocking off the 30 minutes before your scheduled to lead a Group Conversation
There are three layers of content in a presentation:
Data, this is the contents the slide.
Take away, this is the title of the slide, so use: 'migration 10 days ahead of schedule', instead of 'migration schedule estimates', the combined titles of your slides should make a good summary.
Feelings, this is the verbal and non-verbal communication in the video feed, how you feel about the take away, 'I'm proud of the band for picking up the pace'.
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.
Slides with a lot of text that can be read on their own with lots of links are appreciated.
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.
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.
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
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.
Open the questions Google Doc linked from the invite and skim the questions to get a sense of what you can expect.
Enable “Show document outline” under the View menu to navigate the document more easily.
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.
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:
Verify that you have access to GitLab Unfiltired before hosting the call. Check pending invites if you do not have access. If you do not find a pending request there, reach out to a People Operations Specialist.
Only a "Host" in Zoom may Livestream, and there can only be one Host per call. The DRI must join before PeopleOps to be considered the Host. If PeopleOps joins before the DRI, PeopleOps must upgrade the DRI Co-host to Host by going to Participants, More, Make Host.
In the meeting, chose the "More" option in the bottom right of the Zoom screen.
Click "Live on YouTube".
Choose "GitLab Unfiltered" when prompted to which channel to stream to.
Click "Public" or "Private" depending on what is in the Group Conversation agenda.
Make certain that the title of the video includes "Public Livestream" or "Private Livestream" as
Close or mute the YouTube page to avoid an echo, you do not need to monitor it during the presentation. Zoom will show Live on Youtube on the meeting.
Announce that the livestream is live and is public or private in the call.
Remember to only share the slides if illustrating something, otherwise let the speakers be visible in speaker view setting on zoom.
End the zoom call for everyone immediately at the end of the meeting as it subsequently ends the livestream. Press End Meeting and then End Meeting for All.
The calendar events for all livestreamed Group Conversations should adhere to our YouTube visibility guidelines.
Note: 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:
Please update the Alternate Host line in the Group Conversation Agenda document.
Please notify any of the People Ops Specialists in the #group-conversations Slack channel so that they may change the host in Zoom's settings.
Other things to Note
Right now, everyone at GitLab the company is invited to each call, we'll invite the wider community later.
Join the call 2-3 minutes early to ensure you're ready when it starts.
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!"
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."
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.
If someone can't verbalize their question (not in call, driving, audio problems) read it aloud for people watching only the video.
Tone should be informal, like explaining to a friend what happened in the group last month, and shouldn't require a lot of presentation.
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
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.
It is not the end of the world if a call ends early, we aim for results, not for spending the time allotted.
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.
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
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.
The conversation is also announced on and the recording linked from our company call agenda.
Calls are 5 times a week 30 minutes before the company call, 8:00 to 8:25am Pacific.
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 GitLab.com e-mail account.
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.
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 yyyy-mm-dd-group-conversation.html.md.
---title:"GitLab'sFunctionalGroupUpdates-MMMDD-DD"# replace "MMM" with the current month, and "DD-DD" with the date rangeauthor:Name Surnameauthor_gitlab:gitlab.com-usernameauthor_twitter:twitter-usernamecategories:Functional Group Updatesimage_title:'/images/blogimages/functional-group-update-blog-cover.jpg'description:"TheFunctionalGroupsatGitLabgiveanupdateonwhatthey'vebeenworkingon"---<!-- 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](https://zoom.us) 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)<figureclass="video_container"><iframesrc="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8vJBc8MJihE"frameborder="0"allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></figure><!-- 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)<figureclass="video_container"><iframesrc="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8vJBc8MJihE"frameborder="0"allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></figure><!-- end of the FG block -->
Questions? Leave a comment below or tweet [@GitLab](https://twitter.com/gitlab)! Would you like to join us? Check out our [job openings](/jobs/)!
Presentation - https://example.com [Input your presentation's URL and check if its set to view only for anyone with the link if using Google Slides]
After the video is done uploading, click "Video Manager" in the bottom right corner.
Edit the video to start when the meeting actually starts:
Click Edit next to the video icon.
Click the Enhancements tab on the top menu bar.
Click Trim on the bottom right. Slide the left edge of the bar to a few moments before the presentation begins, and the right edge of the bar to a few moments after the presentation ends. Click Done.
Take a screenshot of the second slide of the presentation to make it as custom thumbnail for your video on YouTube. You can upload your custom thumbnail under the Info and Settings tab when you are editing a video.
After the video is finished being edited, change the security level back to "public".