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GitLab Agile Planning

GitLab enables you to plan and manage your Agile delivery

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Agile delivery with GitLab

Development teams have created iterative, incremental, and lean approaches to streamline and accelerate the delivery of software projects. The techniques have ranged from 'extreme programming' to Scrum, and Kanban where teams are able to organize, plan, and deliver working software. Large enterprises have adopted agile at enterprise scale in many frameworks, ranging from Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Disciplined Agile Delivery, Spotify and more. GitLab enables teams to apply agile practices and principles to organize and manage their work.

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What is Agile?

Agile development is iterative, incremental, and lean approaches to streamline and accelerate the delivery of projects.


Why Agile?

Agile Development Benefits

  • Speed-to-Market: faster time-to-market that provides quicker customer feedback, and higher customer satisfaction
  • Better Quality: testing to be integrated throughout the lifecycle, shifting testing left so that there is early sight into quality issues
  • Self-Organized: gives agile teams authority and responsibility to agree upon the work to be done directly with the product owner
  • Faster ROI: fast product releases and ability to facilitate customer reaction and deliver the features that provide the most business value
  • Transparency: allows the opportunity for a user to be involved throughout the project, from planning and the prioritization of features to review sessions, build and deployment
CI/CD Overview

What Are The GitLab Advantages?

  • Integrated: Agile is part of GitLab, enabling collaboration and visibility from planning to deployment (and beyond)
  • Easy to learn: See our Quick Start guide on setting up Agile teams
  • Seamless: Part of the single GitLab application, with a single great user experience
  • Scalable: Organize multiple agile teams to achieve enterprise agile scalability
  • Flexible: Flexible enough to adapt to your methodology, whether agile or influenced by it
  • Team Tracking: Track work with boards, backlogs, dashboards and traceability into your CI/CD

Setup Agile Groups & Teams


Features

  • Issues: Start with an issue that captures a single feature that delivers business value for users.
  • Tasks: Often, a user story is further separated into individual tasks. You can create a task list within an issue's description in GitLab, to further identify those individual tasks.
  • Issue boards: Everything is in one place. Track issues and communicate progress without switching between products. One interface to follow your issues from backlog to done.
  • Epics: Manage your portfolio of projects more efficiently and with less effort by tracking groups of issues that share a theme, across projects and milestones with epics.
  • Milestones: Track issues and merge requests created to achieve a broader goal in a certain period of time with GitLab milestones.
  • Roadmaps: Start date and/or Due date can be visualized in a form of a timeline. The Epics Roadmap page shows such a visualization for all the epics which are under a group and/or its subgroups.
  • Labels: Create and assigned to individual issues, which then allows you to filter the issue lists by a single label or multiple labels.
  • Burndown Chart: Track work in real time, and mitigate risks as they arise. Burndown charts allow teams to visualize the work scoped in a current sprint as they are being completed.
  • Points and Estimation: Indicate the estimated effort with issues by assigning weight attributes and indicate estimated effort
  • Collaboration: The ability to contribute conversationally is offered throughout GitLab in issues, epics, merge requests, commits and more!
  • Traceability: Align your teams issues with subsequent merge requests that give you complete tracability from issue creation to end once the related pipeline passes.
  • Wikis: A system for documentation called Wiki, if you are wanting to keep your documentation in the same project where your code resides.
  • Enterprise Agile Frameworks: Large enterprises have adopted agile at enterprise scale using a variety of frameworks, GitLab can support SAFe, Spotify, Disciplined Agile Delivery and more.

An Agile iteration with GitLab

User stories → GitLab issues

In Agile, you often start with a user story that captures a single feature that delivers business value for users. In GitLab, a single issue within a project serves this purpose


Task → GitLab task lists

Often, a user story is further separated into individual tasks. You can create a task list within an issue's description in GitLab, to further identify those individual tasks.


Epics → GitLab epics

In the other direction, some Agile practitioners specify an abstraction above user stories, often called an epic, that indicates a larger user flow consisting of multiple features. In GitLab, an epic also contains a title and description, much like an issue, but it allows you to attach multiple child issues to it to indicate that hierarchy.


Product backlog → GitLab issue lists and prioritized labels

The product or business owners typically create these user stories to reflect the needs of the business and customers. They are prioritized in a product backlog to capture urgency and desired order of development. The product owner communicates with stakeholders to determine the priorities and constantly refines the backlog. In GitLab, there are dynamically generated issue lists which users can view to track their backlog. Labels can be created and assigned to individual issues, which then allows you to filter the issue lists by a single label or multiple labels. This allows for further flexibility. Priority labels can even be used to also order the issues in those lists.


Sprints → GitLab milestones

A sprint represents a finite time period in which the work is to be completed, which may be a week, a few weeks, or perhaps a month or more. The product owner and the development team meet to decide work that is in scope for the upcoming sprint. GitLab's milestones feature supports this: assign milestones a start date and a due date to capture the time period of the sprint. The team then puts issues into that sprint by assigning them to that particular milestone.


Points and estimation → GitLab issue weights

Also in this meeting, user stories are communicated, and the level of technical effort is estimated for each in-scope user story. In GitLab, issues have a weight attribute, which you would use to indicate the estimated effort. In this meeting (or in subsequent ones), user stories are further broken down to technical deliverables, sometimes documenting technical plans and architecture. In GitLab, this information can be documented in the issue, or in the merge request description, as the merge request is often the place where technical collaboration happens. During the sprint (GitLab milestone), development team members pick up user stories to work on, one by one. In GitLab, issues have assignees. So you would assign yourself to an issue to reflect that you are now working on it. We'd recommend that you create an empty and linked-to-issue merge request right away to start the technical collaboration process, even before creating a single line of code.

Agile board → GitLab Issue Boards

Throughout the sprint, issues move through various stages, such as Ready for dev, In dev, In QA, In review, Done, depending on the workflow in your particular organization. Typically these are columns in an Agile board. In GitLab, issue boards allow you to define your stages and enable you to move issues through them. The team can configure the board with respect to the milestone and other relevant attributes. During daily standups, the team looks at the board together, to see the status of the sprint from a workflow perspective.


Burndown charts → GitLab Burndown Charts

The development team wants to know if they are on track in real time, and mitigate risks as they arise. GitLab provides burndown charts, allowing the team to visualize the work scoped in the current sprint "burning down" as they are being completed. Toward the end of the sprint, the development team demos completed features to various stakeholders. With GitLab, this process is made simple using Review Apps so that even code not yet released to production, but in various testing, staging or UAT environments can be demoed. Review Apps and CI/CD features are integrated with the merge request itself. These same tools are useful for Developers and QA roles to maintain software quality, whether through automated testing with CI/CD, or manual testing in a Review App environment.


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