Getting into the incubator Edit on github

This section describes all the parameters that all new projects are reviewed on before they will be fully accepted into the Zalando Incubator organization. The formal review process kicks-off when a review request is posted to the group by a project owner.


  • The open source review group managers the review process
  • It determines if the project can be sustainable
  • It determines if Zalando has any interest in owning the project
  • It determines if the project quality and maturity is high enough for inclusion in the incubator

Review process

All review requests are posted to the Open Source review group discussion on Github. The review group will then in due time review the request and either:

  • Request more information from the project owner
  • Arrange a formal review meeting
  • Decline the request

All review group members can review and comment on the review request and reach out to the project owner with request for more information and relay this back the review group. The review group meets formally every 2 weeks to process and finalize review requests.

A formal review meeting is then setup to do the final alignment between the project owner and the review group. The successful outcome of this meeting is the creation of a new repository on the Zalando Incubator where the project files are copied to.

Determine sustainability

All projects entering the incubator should do so with the goal of long term sustainability. To achieve this, a project must have considered how it long term will grow and reach a critical mass of users and contributors. The following parameters must be reviewed:

  • There are at least 2 active Zalando maintainers
  • There has been signed off company time to maintain and grow the project
  • The project has the potential to attract non-zalando users and contributors
  • The project is in a state where it is useful to non-Zalando users
  • Project has a unique selling-point

Sustainability parameters are different for each type of project, some require a larger investment of time and resources, the above parameters should therefore be considered in the context of the type of project being reviewed.

Determine need for Zalando ownership

Projects entering the incubator, does so under the Zalando ownership. If we as an organization release a project, we do so with the intention of being in it for the long term. Therefore consider the following parameters:

  • Zalando currently uses the project internally
  • Zalando have a vested interest in its longterm success
  • Collaborating with external contributors will bring the maintainer team value and this involvement can coexist with Zalando‚Äôs internal plans for the project

To ensure that a project can exist longterm and that the organization does not loose interest in maintaining it, ensure that the project is used and actively maintained by a Zalando team. If there is no long-term usage plans, explore alternative ownership for the project.

Required maintainer initiatives during incubation

While maintaines are free to determine what actions to take to grow the project, there are a number of actions which are required of them during incubation:

  • You enroll in the maintainer introduction training - available on [] (Internal link)
  • You present the project in one of the internal tech events
  • You write a release blog post for the project to publish on []

Determine current project quality and maturity

While projects included in the incubator is not required to be feature complete, it is required that the project owners have established processes, people and plans for the future:

  • The project is compliant with Zalando Rules Of Play.
  • There is project infrastructure in place to facilitate external contribution
    • A meaningful readme with install, test and contribution instructions
    • A complete contribution file
    • A process for triaging issues and pull requests
  • Project have a plan for what to accomplish with either a project roadmap or clear project longterm vision.
  • The project can build and run without zalando-specific infrastructure or tools.

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