An effective questioning strategy is critical to engaging customers in dialogue that will help you truly understand their needs, build credibility and trust, and qualify the opportunity. Furthermore, effective discovery and needs analysis will be instrumental to your developing a tailored, compelling, customer-centric solution that will increase your chances to win the business and advance the buying decision.
Target buyer personas include CIO, CTO, VP of Application Development, Product Owner, and App Developer/DevOps Engineer.
So that we may best understand your organization’s needs and how we can help, what are your long-term goals for modernizing your application development practices to deliver increased value to the business?
What are you trying to achieve and why are these goals important?
What is your strategy for increasing the frequency of app deployments? If you were able to do this, what would the impact be to the business?
How will you measure success for each of your goals?
What is your cloud strategy?
With an understanding of your long-term goals, what are your key objectives for the next 6-12 months?
What challenges are you experiencing with modernizing your application development practices?
If you could address or improve one or a just a few things in your current DevOps stack implementation and execution, what would that be and why?
What has prevented the move to so far?
What are the implications if these problems were to continue to persist?
As you look into the future, what other challenges or obstacles do you anticipate encountering? What are you doing today to prepare for those challenges?
What else is holding your team back from being even more successful?
On what prioritized initiatives are you and your team currently focused?
What initiatives are currently being planned or under consideration?
Where is this interest/initiative coming from and what is the scope? (note: higher priority initiatives are often more likely to close and close more quickly)
Is it a company-wide or business unit-wide initiative? Or other?
Do you have cloud-native initiatives? If so, what solutions are you exploring (i.e., Kubernetes)?
What are the requirements you have for this project? What does success look like?
How will success be measured?
What can you tell me about your current situation?
What led you to look at GitLab? (if applicable)
What is your role and what do you do? (ideal roles: Infrastructure/Cloud/Enterprise Architects, Dev Ops, System Admin/Engineer, IT Managers/Directors, Release Engineer, VP Engineering)
How would you describe what your group does?
How large is your group? (goal: find out who will use GitLab and how large the opportunity could be)
How would you describe the projects on which your dev teams are currently working?
If you were to rate how modern your organization’s application development practices are on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not very modern at all, 5 being best-in-class modern), what would your rating be and why? What would it take to move the rating up?
What tools are you currently using in your DevOps stack (or application development toolchain)?
What are you using for issue & bug tracking?
What are you using for CI?
What are you using for code review?
What tool(s) do you leverage for application deployment?
How would you describe your organization’s current and future plans for adoption of the following:
What tools do you use for project management?
What platforms/clouds are you deploying to? (AWS/GCP/Azure/VMware/Openshift/other)
If AWS are you deploying to EC2, ECS, EKS, Fargate, or Lambda
If GCP are you deploying to GCE, GKE, App Engine, or Cloud Run
If Azure are you deploying to VMs, AKS, Functions
How would you describe your maturity level/progress with continuous integration and continuous delivery Is this something your group and company want to improve upon?
How are you using GitLab CE right now? (note: if applicable–check https://version.gitlab.com/ to identify if their company is on CE)
Are other groups using Git? If no, why not and what Version Control System(s) are they using? If yes, what are they using?
How is security testing currently done in your organization?
What is the current process for finding vulnerabilities around Static Application Security Testing, Dependency Scanning, and/or License Compliance?
What is the financial impact on your organization/teams budget with other test and review tools?
For additional customer use case-based discovery questions, please reference the following:
And more importantly, ask effective, open-ended discovery questions and actively listen to your customer’s responses to determine if and how the capabilities of these versions map to the required capabilities they need to deliver desired outcomes for their organization.
Discovery Questions for GitLab Premium
GitLab Premium helps organizations increase operational efficiencies and deliver better products faster. With GitLab Premium, organizations may scale their DevOps delivery supporting high availability, geographic replication, progressive deployment, advanced configuration, and consistent standards. Are these capabilities important to your customer? Consider asking the below questions to find out.
Enterprise level Support
What is the impact of outages and downtime with your SDLC toolchain?
GitLab’s Disaster Recovery feature, only available in Premium and Ultimate SKUs, handles fail-over to another data center within minutes
Are your development teams centrally located in generally the same vicinity or are they distributed across the world? If distributed, how do you ensure that latency between geographically dispersed developers is minimized?
If this is important to the customer, discuss with your SA whether or not Geographic Replication is a required capability
How important is it for you to maximize the productivity of your development teams?
If you could change one thing to make your developers more productive, what would it be and why?
If you were able to analyze graphs and reports to understand team, project, and group productivity to uncover patterns and best practices, how would that improve overall productivity?
How do you currently handle project planning with your existing software development toolchain?
If you could change one thing to streamline your project planning efforts, what would it be and why?
How would your organization benefit from simplified management and visualization of work assignment and tracking?
If streamlining project planning is important, consider positioning how the following capabilities can help your customer (see the Why GitLab Premium? page for value descriptions of each of these features)
Group Backlog management - Simplify tracking, scoping and planning future work with group level backlog management on multiple issue boards
How do you keep teams aligned and working on the right things at the right times?
Epics - Organize, plan, and prioritize business ideas and initiatives
Roadmaps - Visualize the flow of business initiatives across time in order to plan when future features will ship
How many tools do you have to use to understand current status? How long does that take? How does that affect your teams?
If this line of questioning reveals challenges in lack of visibility across the DevOps toolchain, position GitLab Premium’s Operations Dashboard which provides a holistic view of the overall health of an organization's operations
How would you assess your level of confidence in how your organization currently manages software deploys? Are there any risks you wish you could mitigate? If so, what are they and why? GitLab Premium offers a multitude of capabilities to allow organizations to deploy with confidence including the below (see the Why GitLab Premium? page for value descriptions of each of these features)
How do you currently track and manage code reviews and feedback?
Describe your current workflow between SCM to CI. When your pipeline fails, what’s the process to remediate?
If you could collaborate at the point of change, how would that affect your productivity?
When is your next release? How at risk are you for missing that release? At what point does this escalate to higher management?
How do you currently manage auditing and compliance with your existing software development toolchain?
How easy or difficult is it for you to pull together audit evidence and proof points across multiple tools? How could you benefit from a faster process?
How do you collect the data for security and compliance on a regular basis? When you have a breach, what are the implications and who has to get involved? What type of information is required? How long does it take for your teams to provide audit evidence?
GitLab Premium includes several enhancements that help with auditing and compliance including the below (see the Why GitLab Premium? page for value descriptions of each of these features)
Audit Logs - Review changes by user and track access
Auditor users - Read-only access to all projects, groups, and other resources on the GitLab instance
Merge Request Reviews - Draft multiple comments in a merge request code review and review/resolve comments together
Verified Committer - Ensure only authorized and verified team members are allowed to commit to the project
GitLab Ultimate helps organizations increase operational efficiencies, deliver better products faster, and reduce security and compliance risk. This product tier is ideal for projects with executive visibility and strategic organizational usage and helps enterprises transform IT by optimizing and accelerating delivery while managing priorities, security, risk, and compliance. Ultimate helps organizations achieve advanced DevOps maturity. Are these capabilities important to your customer? Consider asking the below questions to find out.
To what degree is cybersecurity a critical concern for you and your organization?
How would you characterize the actions your organization is taking to ensure all applications are secure?
What challenges have or do you run into as it relates to securing all applications?
GitLab Ultimate weaves security into the pipeline to provide early and actionable feedback to the development team and includes the following security features:
Security Dashboard - Visualize the latest security status for each project and across projects
Security Metrics and Trends (future) - Metrics and historical data about how many vulnerabilities have been spotted, addressed, solved, and how much time was spent for the complete cycle
How important is license compliance to your organization so that you can track project dependencies for their licenses and approve or deny specific licenses?
GitLab Ultimate offers the following compliance features:
License Compliance - Identify the presence of new software licenses included in your project. Approve or deny the inclusion of a specific license
Compliance Templates - Templates to streamline audit management with specific regulatory standards. Currently, HIPAA is available. SOX & SOC2 are in the near term roadmap.
How would it affect your organization’s efficiencies to gain insights into things that matter for your projects (e.g. triage hygiene, issues created/closed per a given period, average time for merge requests to be merged, etc.)?