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Helmsman v3.0.0 works only with Helm versions >=3.0.0. For older Helm versions, use Helmsman v1.x

What is Helmsman?

Helmsman is a Helm Charts (k8s applications) as Code tool which allows you to automate the deployment/management of your Helm charts from version controlled code.

How does it work?

Helmsman uses a simple declarative TOML file to allow you to describe a desired state for your k8s applications as in the example toml file. Alternatively YAML declaration is also acceptable example yaml file.

The desired state file (DSF) follows the desired state specification.

Helmsman sees what you desire, validates that your desire makes sense (e.g. that the charts you desire are available in the repos you defined), compares it with the current state of Helm and figures out what to do to make your desire come true.

To plan without executing:

helmsman -f example.toml

To plan and execute the plan:

helmsman --apply -f example.toml

To show debugging details:

helmsman --debug --apply -f example.toml

To run a dry-run:

helmsman --debug --dry-run -f example.toml

To limit execution to specific application:

helmsman --debug --dry-run --target artifactory -f example.toml


  • Built for CD: Helmsman can be used as a docker image or a binary.
  • Applications as code: describe your desired applications and manage them from a single version-controlled declarative file.
  • Suitable for Multitenant Clusters: deploy Tiller in different namespaces with service accounts and TLS (versions 1.x).
  • Easy to use: deep knowledge of Helm CLI and Kubectl is NOT mandatory to use Helmsman.
  • Plan, View, apply: you can run Helmsman to generate and view a plan with/without executing it.
  • Portable: Helmsman can be used to manage charts deployments on any k8s cluster.
  • Protect Namespaces/Releases: you can define certain namespaces/releases to be protected against accidental human mistakes.
  • Define the order of managing releases: you can define the priorities at which releases are managed by helmsman (useful for dependencies).
  • Parallelise: Releases with the same priority can be executed in parallel.
  • Idempotency: As long your desired state file does not change, you can execute Helmsman several times and get the same result.
  • Continue from failures: In the case of partial deployment due to a specific chart deployment failure, fix your helm chart and execute Helmsman again without needing to rollback the partial successes first.


From binary

Please make sure the following are installed prior to using helmsman as a binary (the docker image contains all of them):

  • kubectl
  • helm (helm >=v2.10.0 for helmsman >= 1.6.0, helm >=v3.0.0 for helmsman >=v3.0.0)
  • helm-diff (helmsman >= 1.6.0)

If you use private helm repos, you will need either helm-gcs or helm-s3 plugin or you can use basic auth to authenticate to your repos. See the docs for details.

Check the releases page for the different versions.

# on Linux
curl -L | tar zx
# on MacOS
curl -L | tar zx

mv helmsman /usr/local/bin/helmsman

As a docker image

Check the images on dockerhub

As a package

Helmsman has been packaged in Archlinux under helmsman-bin for the latest binary release, and helmsman-git for master.

You can also install Helmsman using Homebrew

brew install helmsman

As an asdf-vm plugin

asdf plugin-add helmsman
asdf install helmsman latest


Documentation for Helmsman v1.x can be found at: docs v1.x


Helmsman can be used in three different settings:


Pull requests, feedback/feature requests are welcome. Please check our contribution guide.