CNCF TAG Contributor Strategy Charter

Primary Authors: Paris Pittman, Josh Berkus

Reviewed and/or contributed to by:

  • Matt Klein
  • Matt Farina
  • Carolyn Van Slyck
  • April Nassi
  • Matt Jarvis
  • Gerred Dillon
  • Ken Owens
  • Cheryl Hung
  • Amye Scavarda Perrin
  • Ihor Dvoretskyi
  • Liz Rice
  • Sarah Allen


This charter describes the operations of the CNCF Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Contributor Strategy. This TAG is responsible for contributor experience, sustainability, governance, and openness guidance to help CNCF community groups and projects with their own contributor strategies for a healthy project.

Our initial three stakeholders:
1 - CNCF projects and their contributors/maintainers,
2 - End Users in the broader community and member companies,
3 - TOC


Consistent with the CNCF TAG definition, the mission of CNCF TAG Contributor Strategy is to collaborate on strategies related to building, scaling, and retaining contributor communities, including (people) governance, communications, operations, and tools. We want to help grow flourishing, sustainable communities with smooth journeys throughout their CNCF project lifecycle.
To do that we will:

  • Create intentional space. Form a “Maintainers Circle” (name may change) comprised of those interested in growing their projects and joining fellow maintainers in related cross project discussions.
  • Listen and Advise. Create informational and training resources including guides, tutorials and templates of best practices, trade-offs, strategies, building and participating in scalable contributor communities.
  • Evaluate and Foster. Helping the TOC with assessments and due diligence of prospective new projects by developing community graduation criteria check points for rolling feedback and guidance.
  • Educate and Engage. Providing guidance to end users on how to engage with contributors and vice versa.

In scope:

The following, non exhaustive list of activities and deliverables are in-scope for the TAG:

  • Definition of a contributor. This is helpful across projects for metrics and establishing guidelines, programs, and workflows.
  • Contributor and goverance related proposed/suggested/modified project lifecycle requirements for graduation or incubation
  • “Contributing health checks”/’community health checks’ (name tbd) for project evaluations at graduation time
  • Webinars, meetings, and other events to engage with the end user and CNCF project community on upstream contributing trainings and engagement programs.
  • Development of guidelines, documents for project governance, recruiting and retaining contributor communities, mentorship, and project maturity.
  • Collection of current state of contributor strategies and governance models via surveys, GB reps, and Maintainers Circle (Example: what is the project doing now, challenges, gaps)

Out of scope

  • The day to day operations of CNCF TAGs, Kubernetes SIGs, or any community group of CNCF or its respective projects of any graduation level.
  • The creation and approval of CNCF TAGs or other community groups; we will offer advice but the responsibility lies on the TOC for those matters.
  • CNCF operations and marketing initiatives such as: product review/demo webinars, kubecon event planning, branding, stickers, swag, etc
  • Licensing and legal matters
  • Testing

Current Roadmap

In no particular order,

  • Launch the maintainers circle and build community
    • Training and discussion: inclusive language, code of conduct, code reviewing, leadership, and more
  • Continue making recommendations to TOC for project lifecycle milestones as it relates to contributor strategy and governance topics (example: multi-org contributing requirement, community management, etc)
  • Create a project template repo for projects to use as they see fit in a fork all or some approach (example:, templates)

Possible future roadmap projects
If you see something here that interests you, join us and start it:

  • Contributor metrics and definitions
  • Automation and self service for contributors, community GitOps


This TAGs topic requires cross collaboration between end users, CNCF TAGs, and CNCF projects of all graduation levels.

This TAG should be populated and governed by reps from CNCF projects that want to create and run intentional contributor experience programs, a rep(s) from the end user committee, and the TOC liaison(s). While the TAG reps do not need to be core maintainers, they do need to have a drive for making things better for contributors and end users. We welcome industry experts and academics in relevant working groups!

Conduct public monthly meetings as a large group and working groups that form will have their own meetings. (see #Meetings and Decisions for more)

Check in with the TOC on a monthly basis for a quick overview and challenges during a public TOC meeting.


Members are active participants in the work of the TAG who are entitled to vote in any TAG decisions that require a vote. Any contributor to the TAG is eligible to become a member after participating in the work of the TAG for at least three months.

In order to prevent the TAG from becoming unbalanced, it will have the following limits on who can be a voting member:

Up to one from each participating Incubating or Sandbox CNCF project Up to two from each Graduated CNCF project One from each TAG-ContribStrat Working Group, generally the lead for that WG No more than ⅓ of members from the same employer

If a contributor would be entitled to be a member, but are restricted because of the above limits, they are a non-voting member who may participate in meetings but cannot vote.

Members who are no longer participating actively in the TAG (including both WG work and the regular meetings) will step down from membership.


In accordance with the terms and roles laid out in

The TOC will also appoint 3 Chairs

Meetings and Decisions

Most TAG work will be carried out without requiring any kind of regular meeting or vote. The TAG will have a regular meeting, bi-weekly, at which the membership may vote on the following items as the come up:

  • Addition of new members or removal of inactive ones
  • Approval of new working groups and retirement of completed/inactive ones
  • Approval of reports to be delivered to the TOC
  • Approval of formal recommendations to a CNCF project or about that project to the TOC
  • Approval or deprecation of guidelines and documents


Initially, the TOC shall appoint three members in order to launch the TAG

Reach out!

Mailing List: tag-contributor-strategy mailer at
Meeting Notes
Slack channel: [#tag-contributor-strategy]
Public Meetings: Go to the CNCF calendar and enter “TAG Contributor Strategy” in the search box to see our meetings