Next Architecture Workflow

The charter of this working group is to define and implement the next iteration of the Architecture Evolution Workflow.


Property Value
Date Created July 1, 2022
End Date December 31, 2022
Slack #architecture (internal)
Google Doc Working Group Agenda (internal)

Problem Statements

  1. Cross-functional prioritization framework allocates some amount of time towards maintenance activities. It is not prescriptive regarding how Engineering Managers and Engineers might coordinate across multiple teams to execute on large-scale cross-functional projects like those defined by architecture evolution blueprints.
  2. Architecture Evolution Workflow is complex, and has many steps that make it difficult to adopt the workflow and to succeed with with using it to deliver larger, long-term initiatives.
  3. In its current form, the Architecture Evolution Workflow is not leveraged for many initiatives within departments of Engineering. Without a unified roadmap of our own, it is difficult to weigh priorities against Product’s own roadmap.

Exit Criteria

The charter of this working group is to define and implement the next iteration of the Architecture Evolution Workflow.

We want to make it easier and more intuitive to use the Workflow, but also to improve the process itself, to position team members better for delivering great results by using it.


  • The Architecture Evolution Workflow is complex, spans multiple tools and projects, and is not something external contributors can participate in.
  • Architecture Blueprints provide great context and detail, but they are completely disconnected from Product prioritization and thus rarely picked up into the workstream.
  • Working Groups involving technical initiatives have a low rate of success. Many choose to produce blueprints as part of their exit criteria, but blueprints are not standard and do very little to ensure the work gets done.
  • Cross-functional Prioritization aims to replace Engineering Allocations but is not prescriptive regarding how efforts involving engineers across multiple Product stages will be coordinated.

The following recording from the Rate Limit Architecture Working Group included some organic discussion around this topic as we attempt to redefine exit criteria that will result in a successful implementation after the working group concludes:

Note: the video is private. Try this link if the embedded video is not playable.

Prior Efforts

Architecture Kickoff Working Group

The Architecture Kickoff working group was primarily concerned with defining a 3/6/12-month technical roadmap. This working group picks up by further iterating on the process for maintaining this roadmap over time and better facilitating its implementation.

Special Interest Groups

We have previously attempted to introduce a new organizational structure for facilitating cross-functional work in the form of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) (see gitlab-com/www-gitlab-com!104378), but it was difficult to demonstrate incremental value with this approach.

We hope to see more success by focusing on the consolidation and streamlining of existing process and improving the success rate of working groups in their current form first.

Roles and Responsibilities

Working Group Role Person Title
DRI Marshall Cottrell Principal, Strategy and Operations (Technical)
Executive Stakeholder Christopher Lefelhocz VP of Development
Member Gerardo “Gerir” Lopez-Fernandez Engineering Fellow, Infrastructure
Member Joshua Lambert Director of Product, Enablement
Member Sam Goldstein Director of Engineering, Ops
Member Andrew Newdigate Distinguished Engineer, Infrastructure
Member Kamil Trzciński Distinguished Engineer, Ops and Enablement
Member Philippe Lafoucrière Security Architect, Security
Member Grzegorz Bizon Principal Backend Engineer, Ops
Member Lucas Charles Staff Backend Engineer, Sec::Static Analysis
Member João Pereira Staff Backend Engineer, Package
Member Natalia Tepluhina Staff Frontend Engineer, Plan
Member Tyler Amos Staff Backend Engineer, Fulfillment Platform
Last modified September 1, 2023: Mark all active working groups (e749da39)