FY21 Product Engagement Actions

Take action on the FY 21 product engagement survey results.


Property Value
Date Created February 23, 2021
Target End Date May 30, 2021
Slack #wg_fy21_product_engagement_actions (only accessible by GitLab team members)
Google Doc Working Group Agenda (only accessible by GitLab team members)
Epics/Issues Engagement Survey Issue / Issue Board / Engagement action item epics: 1386 1387 1388
Label ~wg-fy21-engagement-actions

Problems To Solve

For more details please reference the Product FY'21 Engagement Survey Results.

  1. How can we provide a clear, actionable and trackable path for product managers to grow and thrive at GitLab and beyond?
  2. How can we better support and help product managers focus on creating innovative and valuable products for GitLab’s customers?

Business Goals

  • Create focus on customer value and business outcomes in the product manager role at GitLab
  • Boost product team job satisfaction and retention
  • Provide a clear path to success at GitLab for product managers of all levels
  • Attract, grow and support a diverse group of product managers at GitLab

Protocols and Processes

How we’ll do the work

In order to stay focused and move quickly on actions, we need to stay lean. Therefore, the working group will be limited to 9 functional leads, 1 facilitator and 1 executive sponsor. The 9 functional leads will then be split into three groups of 3 collaborators, who will each own of of the problems to solve, as noted above.

Creating Epics, Issues and MRs for the working group board

  • All epics should have labels: product operations wg-fy21-engagement-actions
  • All issues should be linked to a WG epic and have labels: milestone product operations wg-fy21-engagement-actions and a product operations workflow label: prodops::todo prodops::validation prodops::planning prodops::doing prodops::inreview With these labels, the issues will be viewable as part of the product operations issue board
  • All MRs should be linked to a WG issue and have the labels: milestone product operations wg-fy21-engagement-actions

Please note the above actions are necessary for succesful async collaboration.

How we’ll review and share the work

  • Please provide a standup style update of your work in progress at the weekly sync by adding it to the agenda and then voicing it over. If neither you or your partner are able to attend weekly sync, please still add the written update and the WG facilitator will voice over.
  • Please explicitly communicate any reviews, feedback or contributions you need from the bigger WG team by adding an agenda item to weekly sync meeting or by posting in the WG Slack channel, in addition to pinging directly as appropriate in the epic, issue or MR. Highlighting in weekly sync and Slack are critical as we all have many pings and ToDos in GitLab daily. Please make any due dates for feedback clear as will help the WG prioritize when you need feedback.
  • Please add the WG facilitator ‘@fseifoddini’ as a reviewer on all MRs as DRI and to also allow her the opportunity to further label any items that need to show up on product operations release pages
  • Please add required reviewers of your MR by assigning them as reviewer
  • Please unassign yourself as reviewer when you’ve completed feedback

NOTE TO ALL: Please pay attention to your To-Do list! We’ll not hold the train on non-controversial MRs for more than 24 hours.


Meetings are recorded and available on Product GDrive. The faciliator will post a link to the video in a Slack as part of a meeting summary after every weekly sync. Due to the subject matter of this working group and the high probability that every synchronous meeting will discuss sensitive customer information, the playlist is private and accessible by GitLab team members only.

Exit Criteria

Required per Product FY'21 Engagement Survey Results:

  1. Define a competency for managers to conduct effective 1-2 year career development conversations. Update the product handbook with guidance, and develop a template so we have a consistent approach across the division. Each team member should then feel welcome to fill out the document and schedule time with their manager to discuss. We very much want to be having regular career conversations on a cadence the works for each person.
  2. Invest in a more robust Learning & Development curriculum for Product team members for at least three key competencies. Leverage content from LinkedIn, ProductTalk, and homegrown sources. Link content to competency development handbook descriptions, the Career Development Framework, and onboarding instructions.
  3. Develop a product handbook page outlining the required monthly release tasks for PM’s. Make it clear what’s required, and what’s optional and/or there for best practice guidance. Endeavor to reduce the monthly release task list for PM’s so there is more time available for high value activities like customer, market, and competitive research.

Required per Product Operations:

  1. Communication strategy for initial updates of each actions
    • Conduct an AMA to answer all questions / concerns
    • Communication in meetings, Slack and release pages as appropriate
  2. Ongoing communication for updates/maintenance of the L & D and other actions as a whole
  3. Dogfooding: Identify a Section/ group to dogfood L & D and other components as appropraite
    • Document and capture feedback for future iteration


  1. Define quantitative and qualitative measures of success for
    • Learning and development hub
    • Product manager onboarding
    • product manager job satisfaction

Roles and Responsibilities

Working Group Role Person Title
Executive Sponsor Scott Williamson (Product) Chief Product Officer
Facilitator Farnoosh Seifoddini (Product) Product Operations
Functional Lead Kevin Chu (Product) Group Manager
Functional Lead Mike Karampalas (Product - Growth) Principal Product Manager
Functional Lead Mark Wood (Product - Create / Plan) Senior Product Manager
Functional Lead Josh Zimmerman (People)) Learning & Development Manager
Functional Lead Viktor Nagy (Product - Configure) Senior Product Manager
Functional Lead Derek Ferguson (Product - Secure) Senior Product Manager
Functional Lead Jacki Bauer (UX) Product Design Manager