GitHub Launches Project Governance Framework
Written by Alex Denham   
Thursday, 29 July 2021

GitHub has announced a governance framework for open source projects. Minimum Viable Governance (MVG) is aimed at both large and small projects, and is open source so can be modified.

The aim of using MVG is to avoid disputes among team members arising as projects are developed. MVG lets you to start an organization and sub-projects with simple governance in place at the outset - including legal terms, licensing and trademark issues, and due process.

Writing on the GitHub blog, Justin Colannino said:

"Things get complicated when you move from 1 maintainer to 1+N maintainers of your project. Suddenly, you need to figure out how you’ll make decisions, how you’ll add other maintainers, how you’ll divide work and agree on a vision, as well as who owns the trademark."

"There is often either too little or too much negotiation over these decisions. For volunteer-run projects, people often do nothing until there are problems, and those problems can strain or break the community. For projects with large corporate contributors, lawyers get involved and spend months negotiating heavyweight legal governance structures that slow down real work."

The idea is that the MVG agreement is signed by project maintainers and stored in the repository. It includes a list of people who will act as the technical steering committee, and sets out lightweight, consensus-based governance among the maintainers for individual projects. The aim is to provide a framework for governing free and open source projects that are run in version control systems.

At the top level (called an "organization" on GitHub), there is a technical steering committee to make decisions about the overall direction and coordination between all the organization's projects. Underneath that top level are the individual projects, with lightweight, consensus-based governance.

The aim is both to prevent arguments arising while the project is being developed, and if and when money becomes involved, you have the framework in place to make the transition to a corporate model easier.

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More Information

MVG On GitHub

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