How to Master GitLab Project Management in 2023
GitLab is one of the most widely-used project management tools used by workers in the tech industry and other collaborative fields. It is ideal for those who want to manage and collaborate on code projects. The GitLab interface is Git-based, making it easy for developers to work with and contribute to repositories without having to download Git.
However, GitLab is not just for developers. The tool can be used for project management needs, such as keeping track of progress, assigning tasks to team members, and even GitLab time tracking, and more.
If you’re a tech team or want to learn to use GitLab for your project management needs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss GitLab project management and how you can use GitLab to improve your workflow.
How To Use GitLab For Project Management
GitLab offers a wide range of features for project management including issue tracking, code review, wikis, and more. What used to take an assortment of tools and workflows can now be united into one platform, with the added benefit of being able to accommodate any Agile framework you need.
Agile project management is an approach to software development that focuses on transparency, interactivity, and feedback incorporation, which means they involve frequent and continuous quality testing. What used to be one of the most pressing pain points of this approach to project management is the lack of a capable and flexible platform to support the kind of workflow that this approach called for.
GitLab agile project management solves this issue. With GitLab’s capabilities, project managers have everything they need to conduct agile projects in one place, making the platform a perfect fit for various development projects. In the following sections, we’ll give you a short Gitlab tutorial and explain how to use it for project management.
GitLab epics allow you to group issues according to a common theme, giving project managers and coders the ability to organize their portfolios in a more accessible way. You can create multiple levels by creating child epics and adding duration and start and end dates.
Practical uses include easier navigation, which is critical when conducting high-level, wide-scope projects, and easier collaboration between team members when discussing things that involve cross-theme issues.
You can group specific issues by themes, such as GraphQL upgrades, user onboarding, security, and more. Epic boards are also available for Premium users, allowing you to track and organize your epics depending on what categories you assign them.
GitLab boards are a project management tool that’s included in GitLab. It provides an overview of issues assigned to you and your team members. You can create as many GitLab boards as you need to organize tasks, issues, and to-dos into different views, allowing you to understand your work better. Each board can have multiple lists, and each list can have an unlimited number of issues. You can also create a GitLab kanban board and GitLab scrum board, depending on which methodologies your team is most familiar with.
Regardless of what you want to do with it, using GitLab boards is perfect for project managers who want to have a better overview of their project’s progress, or for developers who want to organize their code better.
GitLab milestones are a great way to track the progress of your project. You can use them to group issues and merge requests into a single timeline. The milestones also allow you to set due dates and assignees, helping teams work towards a broader project goal within a set deadline. This builds on the platform’s issue-tracking and request-merging ability that GitLab lets you do on a fundamental level.
Additionally, GitLab’s milestone feature is also flexible. You can use it to track the progress of your project on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. You can also use GitLab milestones to track the progress of specific features, products, or services.
The GitLab roadmap allows for a top-down view of all the epics and milestones within a project. It’s a Gantt chart-style visual that maps out the progress of the project in its entirety. How the tasks fit into the larger deadline, task interactions, and even task dependencies can be easily identified and managed using GitLab roadmaps.
Every epic on the roadmap contains details, such as title, start and due date, completed weight percentage, and more. You can sort and filter roadmaps and access details on the epics it contains, such as the author, label, milestone, confidentiality, and more. This allows for easier project management, especially when it comes to task tracking and collaboration.
GitLab issues are a fundamental unit of work. By default, GitLab issues are used to track bugs, but they can be used to track anything that needs to be done. If you go to other project management platforms that are non-tech, issues would be the equivalent of single tasks or cards, although they can be much more than that. GitLab issues support user mentions, labels, due dates, assignees, weight, confidential notes, and more.
It also automatically creates an issue when you submit a merge request. GitLab will then link the merge request to the issue so that you can track the progress of both.
GitLab labels make tracking issues, epics, and projects much easier. GitLab also has a wide range of default labels that you can use to get started. These include To Do, Doing, Done, Won’t Do, and more.
You can also create custom labels to better organize your work. For example, you can create a label for a specific project, product, or client. You can even use label colors to make your work more visually appealing and easier to scan.
Projects are the widest categorization in a GitLab workplace, where everything will be based on your tasks, issues, epics, codebase, etc. One of the best features of GitLab is that it gives developers a ton of utility, including built-in CI/CD functionality to test your app’s deployment.
You can make an unlimited about of private GitLab projects, but public or internally available projects are limited depending on your subscription.
Groups function like a folder for projects you want to group according to a category. This lets project managers organize whatever tasks they might be working on, depending on the themes of their choice.
This functionality can also restrict access to the projects within the folder. You can limit team members who have access to a specific project group based on their roles or needs.
Aside from that, groups also give you a unified view of all the issues, merge requests, epics, etc, across all the projects within a specific GitLab group. This lets project managers organize projects better, allowing easier access when needed.
GitLab lets you track the progress of your milestones through the use of burndown charts. This functionality is a live comparison between your milestones and the accomplished tasks.
GitLab consolidates the data of your projects and then compares them to show you the progress that has been made, displaying the data in easy-to-understand graphs or charts.
This is a great way to keep track of large projects and ensure that deadlines are being met, helping you accomplish the following things:
- Visualize milestone progress and identify gaps in achieving those objectives
- Allow project managers to step in and help their team by pinpointing potential errors
- Provide a complete visual of your progress to stakeholders and supervisors
Teams can use GitLab’s wikis to enhance their understanding of their projects. Wikis let you document progress, notes, and meetings, among many others, and then store them in the same platform as the project you’re working on.
Every wiki is a different Git repository, and you can create pages on the web platform or locally. The wikis also support various languages, such as Markdown, RDoc, Org, AsciiDoc, and more.
Another nifty feature that GitLab has is the ability to see where a change has been made and who made it. This is done through the GitLab traceability feature.
More specifically, traceability provides automated issue-linking functionality that connects you to the current state of the source code. It’s a powerful and innovative feature that gives teams much-needed information and transparency regarding highly complicated projects.
You can access this feature by checking the GitLab merge request or going to the GitLab pipeline jobs page. It’s incredibly beneficial for the following reasons:
- Automatically link GitLab issues to the GitLab merge requests
- Easily see which GitLab merge request introduced a change
- Access the GitLab pipeline jobs page from the GitLab issue.
Tools And Integrations You Can Use For Time Tracking In GitLab
GitLab is an excellent project management tool, specifically when it comes to end-to-end software development. You could say that even if it’s not the perfect software development project manager, it’s definitely up there – and specific teams might just find that it’s well suited for their work.
However, on-the-ground project development involves other non-technical functions. No matter how big or small, every team will deal with these logistics in one way or another – and GitLab is woefully under-equipped for this.
GitLab has task-tracking features such as issues, epics, and even milestones, but it’s missing a fundamental time-tracking ability that’s essential for any project management project. Fortunately, though, there are several time-tracking tools that you can rely on for this purpose.
Everhour is a comprehensive third-party GitLab time tracking integration that works seamlessly with GitLab. It’s also an attendance tracker, time tracker, and work hour tracker, giving you everything you need for the best employee time tracking. You can also easily get your Gitlab time tracking reports and monitor how you’re doing in terms of your specific metrics.
This time clock app gives you everything you would ever need in a robust time tracker for teams of all sizes:
- Real-time time-tracking abilities
- Analytics on workplace performance
- Task assignments and team monitoring
- Team role and permission management functionality for managers
- Financial functionalities such as billing, invoicing, and budget comparisons
With this work hours tracker, all you need is to install and onboard your team members, and you will get a robust time tracker, analytics, and financial tool that will take care of the administrative aspects of running your agile DevOps team.
Everhour has many features that are incredibly useful for managing your team’s work hours, whether they work in software development or otherwise. Here are some examples of the top tools and functionalities that Everhour has.
- Time tracking tools. This platform seamlessly functions as both a manual and automatic hour tracker for your employees and teammates to utilize.
- Budget and financials. Everhour allows you to invoice, create and compare budgets, customize customer rates, and more.
- Timesheets and work hour management. Simplify your administrative management with Everhour’s timesheet approvals, work hour management, work hour limits, etc.
- Organizational structure. This tool lets you decide on the roles and permissions of members, which is ideal for managers.
- Seamless integrations. Everhour integrates with many other project management software, websites, and apps.
Your team can utilize this to streamline your administrative tasks and make your work operations more efficient.
|Free for up to 5 users||$6 per month billed monthly
$5 per month billed annually
|$10 per month billed monthly
$8.5 per month billed monthly
|Maximum 5 users||Minimum 2 users, maximum 10 users||Minimum 5 users, no maximum|
|• Unlimited time tracking, projects, integrations, and reports
• Website integrations
• Time tracking
• iOS app, web, browser extension
|•All Free features
• Budget and invoicing control
• Client features
• Access to support
|• All Free + Lite features
• Advanced time-tracking features
• Native integrations with sync
• Single sign-on (SSO)
• Priority support
This platform is one of the most popular time trackers for small to medium-sized teams. It has strong collaborative abilities and organizes time tracking to make it easier to communicate throughout the team.
Here are some of the most notable Time Doctor features that you might want to check out.
- Integrations and offline availability. Time Doctor integrates with a lot of platforms and services. Aside from that, it also has a mobile version and an offline desktop app, making it very available for all team members.
- Custom reminders. Team leaders can set customized, automated reminders that allow teams to track their hours consistently.
- Streamlined management. Time Doctor gives you features that streamline your team’s management, such as employee monitoring and tracking.
- Team necessities. Team features such as team capacity, time spent, and more help you manage your team better.
|• Activity and time tracking
• Projects and tasks
• Unlimited screenshots
• 3-day response time from support
• 1 group per department
• 1 month of data storage
|• All basic features
• Apps and URL tracking
• 60+ integrations
• Access to payroll
• Daily email notifications
• 24/7 support
• Maximum 3 groups per department
• 6 months of data storage
|• All standard features
• Client login access
• Concierge account setup
• Video screen captures
• Internet Connectivity Report
• 24/7 VIP support
• Unlimited groups and data storage
You can integrate Quickbooks into GitLab and use QuickBooks Time, another excellent tool. It’s a comprehensive time tracker that streamlines tracking through your desktop and mobile apps, allowing you to track your time however you work.
Here are some of the best things that Quickbooks Time has to offer.
- Team management features. It’s easy to manage your entire workforce with this platform. You can track projects, time, schedules, mileage, and locations using Quickbooks Time.
- Employee scheduling and tracking. With Quickbooks Time, you can set schedules by shift, by job, or even manage employees remotely.
- Comprehensive reports. You can easily generate reports, such as time cards, payroll, and project reports, using this app.
- Multiple integrations. Quickbooks Time can integrate with over a dozen different apps and platforms for your convenience.
The base app costs $20 per month, with an additional $8 per month per employee.
Time Tracking in GitLab Project Management Tool
Just like most GitLab alternatives, GitLab is one of the best project managers for tech-related teams and software developers. Even if you don’t work in these fields, GitLab is still a powerful tool, primarily if you work with tech teams as part of a more significant project.
But GitLab can become even better with the use of third-party integrations that solve their most glaring problems; administration and team management.
While GitLab is specialized in handling the DevOps cycle and other development-related projects; it doesn’t have administrative features such as time tracking and billing or invoicing – something that all teams have to go through.
Fortunately, an excellent third-party Gitlab time tracking integration such as Everhour can provide all of these administrative needs, streamlining the admin load and allowing teams to focus on what matters.