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Table of Contents

I. Overview

This governance policy describes how an open source project can formally join LF Energy via the Project Proposal Process. It describes the Stages a project may be admitted under and what the criteria and expectations are for a given stage, as well as the acceptance criteria for a project to move from one stage to another. It also describes the Annual Review Process through which those changes will be evaluated and made.

Project Progression - movement from one stage to another - allows projects to participate at the level that is most appropriate for them given where they are in their lifecycle. Regardless of stage, all LF Energy projects benefit from a deepened alignment with existing projects, and access to mentorship, support, and foundation resources.

For more information about how your project can benefit from LF Energy membership and services, please see Incubation Requirements.

The LF Energy Project Lifecycle

II. Stages - Definitions & Expectations

Every LF Energy project has an associated maturity level. Proposed projects should state their stage, along with guidance on why that stage is appropriate.

All projects may attend TAC meetings and contribute work regardless of their stage.

The following table summarizes LF Energy project maturity stages, along with the services LF Energy provides at least stage. In brief, there are three actual project maturity stages, which indicates that a project has been accepted by the TAC, has a legal charter from LF Energy, and trademarks are managed by LF. We describe the pre-project process as a fourth level, either a Special Interest Group or a Working Group, as a great deal of work is done prior to the project’s formation. We also recognize the end of a project’s useful progress.

Stage Requirements & Expectations

Services Offered by LF Energy

SIG - special interest group; WG - working group
  • Discussion of ideas & solutions
  • Plans for potential projects
  • Can be proposed by anyone
  • Discussion must stay relevant & active
Incubation Project
  • 2 TAC sponsors
  • Presentation to TAC
  • Adherence to IP Policy, adopt LF Energy CoC
  • Final acceptance by TAC (⅔ majority)
  • Operating TSC with appointed chair
  • a set of project mailing lists
  • recognition on website
  • legal support: charter & trademark curation
  • TAC mentoring & guidance
  • PM curation of a github page, if required
  • PM help in building a developer community
Early Adoption Project
  • Growth plan accepted by TAC
  • Operating TSC with elected chair
  • Used in production by 2 end users
  • Ongoing flow of commits
  • Community participation measurable w/growth plan
  • Documented public description of governance
  • Final acceptance by TAC (⅔ majority)
  • a fully built-out web page
  • inclusion of milestones in press releases
  • TAC seat for TSC chair
Graduated Project
  • Defined governing body (TSC) of 5 or more disparate members (< ½ at same organizations)
  • Documented public desc of release/testing process
  • Maintainers from at least 2 orgs
  • Public list of project adopters
  • Final acceptance by TAC (⅔ majority)
  • a fully built-out set of web pages
  • 1-2 project-specific press releases per year
  • (i.e. following release schedule)
  • Release and other financial support TBD

Incubation Projects


Incubation projects are projects which the TAC believes are, or have the potential to be, important to the ecosystem of Projects or ecosystem as a whole. They may be early-stage projects just getting started, or they may be long-established projects with minimal resource needs. The Incubation stage provides a beneficial, neutral home for these projects in order to foster collaborative development and provide a path to deeper alignment with other LF Energy projects via the graduation process.


  1. New projects that are designed to extend one or more LF Energy projects with functionality or interoperability libraries.
  2. Independent projects that fit within the LF Energy mission and provide potential for a novel approach to existing functional areas (or are an attempt to meet an unfulfilled need).
  3. Projects commissioned or sanctioned by LF Energy.
  4. Any project that realistically intends to join LF Energy Incubating or Graduated Stages in the future and wishes to lay the foundations for that transition.


End users should evaluate Incubation projects with care, as this stage does not set requirements for community size, governance, or production readiness. Incubation projects receive minimal support from the LF Energy. Projects are reviewed on an annual basis; they may also request a status review by submitting a report to the TAC.

Acceptance Criteria

To be considered for the Incubation Stage, the project must meet the following requirements:

  • 2 TAC sponsors to champion the project & provide mentorship as needed
  • A presentation at the meeting of the TAC
  • Adherence to LF Energy’s IP Policy
  • Adoption of LF Energy Code of Conduct
  • Operating TSC with at least 3 members, one chair elected or appointed by sponsoring organization or LF Energy
  • Final acceptance by TAC, 2/3 majority
  • Upon acceptance, Incubation projects must list and maintain their status prominently on their website/README

Early Adoption Projects


The Early Adoption stage is for projects that are interested in reaching the Graduated Stage, and have identified a growth plan for doing so. Early Adoption stage projects receive mentorship from the TAC and are expected to actively develop their community of contributors, governance, project documentation, and other variables identified in the growth plan that factor in to broad success and adoption.

In order to support their active development, projects in the Early Adoption stage have a higher level of access to Foundation resources, which are agreed upon and reviewed on a yearly basis. A project's progress toward its growth plan goals will be reviewed on a yearly basis, and the TAC may ask the project to move back to the Incubation stage if progress on the plan drops off or stalls.


  1. Projects that are on their way or very likely to mature to Graduated status.
  2. Projects that have developed new growth targets or other community metrics for success.
  3. Projects that are looking to create a lifecycle plan (maintainership succession, contributor programs, version planning, etc.)
  4. Projects that need more active support from LF Energy Governing Board or TAC mentorship in order to reach their goals.


Projects in the Early Adoption stage are generally expected to move to the Graduated stage within two years. Depending on their growth plans, projects may cycle through Incubation, Early Adoption, or Graduated stage as needed.

Acceptance Criteria

To be considered for Early Adoption Stage, the project must meet the Incubation requirements as well as the following:

  • Development of a growth plan, to be done in conjunction with their project mentor(s) at the TAC.
  • Document that it is being used successfully in production by at least two independent end users which, in the TAC’s judgement, are of adequate quality and scope.
  • Demonstrate a substantial ongoing flow of commits and merged contributions.
  • Demonstrate that the current level of community participation is sufficient to meet the goals outlined in the growth plan.
  • Since these metrics can vary significantly depending on the type, scope and size of a project, the TAC has final judgement over the level of activity that is adequate to meet these criteria.
  • Operating TSC with at least 5 members and a chair elected by the members
  • Explicitly define a project governance and committer process. This is preferably laid out in a file and references a and file showing the current and emeritus committers.
  • Other metrics as defined by the applying Project during the application process in cooperation with the TAC.
  • Receive a two-thirds supermajority vote of the TAC to move to Incubating Stage.

Graduated Stage


The Graduated Stage is for projects that have reached their growth goals and are now on a sustaining cycle of development, maintenance, and long-term support. Graduated Stage projects are used commonly in enterprise production environments and have large, well-established project communities.


  1. Projects that have publicly documented release cycles and plans for Long Term Support ("LTS").
  2. Projects that have themselves become platforms for other projects.
  3. Projects that are able to attract a healthy number of committers on the basis of its production usefulness (not simply 'developer popularity').
  4. Projects that have several, high-profile or well known end-user implementations.


Graduated Stage projects are expected to participate actively in TAC proceedings, and as such have a binding vote on TAC matters requiring a formal vote, such as the election of a TAC representative. They receive ongoing financial and marketing support from LF Energy, and are expected to cross promote the foundation along with their activities.

Acceptance Criteria

To graduate from Incubation or Early Adoption status, or for a new project to join with Graduated status, a project must meet the Early Adoption stage criteria plus:

  • Have a defined governing body of at least 5 or more members (owners and core maintainers), of which no more than 1/3 is affiliated with the same employer. In the case there are 5 governing members, 2 may be from the same employer.
  • Have a documented and publicly accessible description of the project's governance, decision-making, and release processes.
  • Have a healthy number of maintainers from at least two organizations. A maintainer or committer is defined as someone with the commit bit; i.e., someone who can accept contributions to some or all of the project.
  • Have a public list of project adopters for at least the primary repo (e.g., or logos on the project website).
  • Receive a supermajority vote from the TAC to move to Graduated stage. Projects can move directly from Incubation to Graduated status if they can demonstrate sufficient maturity and have met all requirements.

Emeritus Stage


Emeritus projects are projects which the maintainers feel have reached or are nearing end-of-life. Emeritus projects have contributed to the ecosystem, but are not necessarily recommended for modern development as there may be more actively maintained choices. LF Energy appreciates the contributions of these projects and their communities, and the role they have played in moving the ecosystem forward.


  1. Projects that are "complete" by the maintainers' standards.
  2. Projects that do not plan to release major versions in the future.


Projects in this stage are not in active development. Their maintainers may infrequently monitor their repositories, and may only push updates to address security issues, if at all. Emeritus projects should clearly state their status and what any user or contributor should expect in terms of response or support. If there is an alternative project the maintainers recommend, it should be listed as well. The foundation will continue to hold the IP and any trademarks and domains, but the project does not draw on foundation resources.

Acceptance Criteria

Projects may be granted Emeritus status via a 2/3 vote from the TAC and with approval from project ownership. In cases where there is a lack of project ownership, only a 2/3 vote from the TAC is required.

III. Project Proposal Process


This governance policy sets forth the proposal process for projects to be accepted into LF Energy. The process is the same for both existing projects which seek to move into LF Energy and new projects to be formed within LF Energy.

Project Proposal Requirements

Projects must be formally proposed via GitHub. For more details see Project Proposals.

Project Acceptance Process

  • Projects are required to present their proposal at a TAC meeting
  • The TAC may ask for changes to bring the project into better alignment with LF Energy (adding a governance document to a repository or adopting a Code of Conduct, for example).
  • The project will need to make these changes in order to progress further.
  • Projects are accepted via a 2/3 supermajority vote of the TAC.
  • The proposal document will be finalized as a project charter. This charter document must be included in the project's main repository.
  • The TAC will determine the appropriate initial stage for the project. The project can apply for a different stage via the review process.

III. Annual Review Process

The TAC shall develop an annual review process to determine whether projects are in the stage that accurately reflects their needs and goals.

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