Governance Questionnaire

by Shauna Gordon-McKeon

The following questionnaire can help you understand who already holds power, whether formal or informal, in your community. It is structured around the different collaborative tools that a project might use.


  1. Who owns your repositories?
  2. Who has merge rights to them?
  3. Who can review pull requests?
  4. Who can triage issues?
  5. Who is actually responding to issues and reviewing pull requests? Are there people with permissions they don't use? People without permissions they probably need?
  6. Who tends to open issues? Do you have users submitting issues along with developers? Strangers, along with people you already know?


  1. Who owns the server (or account on the server)?
  2. Who has access to the server?
  3. Who is responsible for the project being "up"? When there's an urgent problem, who drops everything to fix it?


  1. Who owns the accounts for communications tools such as Slack, Discord, Zulip, Discourse, Matrix, etc.?
  2. Who are admins on those accounts?
  3. Who drives conversation in communication channels?
  4. Who welcomes newcomers?
  5. Who answers help requests?
  6. Who do people defer to? Who do they seem to trust?


  1. Are there any other organizations that formally partner with or informally coordinate with your project? Who in your project do they work with?
  2. Are you part of an umbrella organization that has its own governance rules you are meant to follow?
  3. Who participates in the project outside of the collaborative tools mentioned above? For instance, is there an artist who has drawn a logo for your project, or a mentor who has helped at a sprint?