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structured planning for architectural proposals
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Concourse RFCs

A process for collaborating on substantial changes to Concourse.

What should be proposed as an RFC?

RFCs should be opened for changes that have a substantial impact on Concourse users and contributors. RFCs enable the community to collaborate during the architecture and feature design process, before getting to code and implementation.

An RFC may not be necessary for changes that are narrow enough in scope with limited impact to the rest of Concourse. If you feel that this is the case, you can cut straight to submitting a PR, though it's still a good idea to have an issue opened first to provide additional context. Do note however that pull requests and issues may be closed with a polite request to submit an RFC first.

If you're not sure whether to open an RFC for a change you'd like to propose, feel free to discuss beforehand in Discord - just ping @rfc-czars or guauge interest in #contributors.

Providing feedback to an RFC

This process is centered around pull requests. Feedback and questions should be left as comments on specific lines of the pull request's proposal document, so that they can be marked as resolved. This is to avoid an ever-growing sequence of comments at the top level.

Top-level comments and pull-request reviews are allowed for overarching commentary, but in general line-wise comments are preferred.

Submitting an RFC

  1. Fork this repository.

  2. Copy the 000-example RFC template, naming it something like 123-my-proposal.

    • Don't worry too much about the number; they don't have to be sequential. You can try to predict your pull request number for example, and/or just edit it after submitting.
  3. Write your RFC in under your RFC directory.

    • Try to paint a clear mental picture of the motivation for the proposal first. A proposal with no context is more likely to fall under scrutiny.
    • Having a summary near the beginning of the proposal is also helpful, and if your proposal defines new terms, explicitly listing those up-front is also a good idea.
    • Take special care to think about any risks, side effects, or drawbacks to your proposal ahead-of-time. These have to be assessed at some point! If you're not sure how to resolve them, leave them under an "open questions" section, and we can all try to work through them together.
  4. Submit a pull request. Your proposal may include any dependent assets (example content, screenshots) under its RFC directory. For convenience, link to the rendered proposal in the pull request body, like so:

    [Rendered]({YOUR NAME}/rfcs/blob/{YOUR BRANCH}/123-my-proposal/

    Try to keep the description light, since most content should be in the already. But feel free to reference any relevant GitHub issues, since that helps with context-building.

  5. Each RFC will be assigned to at least one reviewer. Feel free to reach out to them if you need help on any part of the process or with the proposal itself.

  6. Community members are expected to submit feedback by leaving comments on lines in the pull request and submitting reviews. This allows conversations to be marked "resolved" and prevents the comment history on the pull request from growing larger and larger.

    • As the RFC author, feel free to leave your own comments/feedback, using the pull request as a "captain's log" as you think about the problem more and reach key decisions. The point of all this is to have a clear public record for the decision-making process.
  7. Amendments to the RFC should be made by pushing more commits to the RFC branch. Please do not rebase and force-push over your own commits. Instead, try to make meaningful commits that summarize their changes.


Once consensus builds and things slow down, the RFC will be granted with one of the following labels:

  • resolution/merge: there are no outstanding objections to the RFC and implementation can begin as soon as the RFC is merged.
  • resolution/postpone: there are no outstanding objections to the RFC, but we have decided to defer its implementation until some time in the future, and until then it's better to leave the proposal unmerged in case things change by the time we can get to implementation.
  • resolution/close: we have decided not to accept the RFC, and have no plans for implementation.

These labels mark the beginning of the final phase of the RFC. During this point, any additional feedback will be sought out by communicating it on our blog.

There will then be a two-week quiet period on the RFC. If during this time there is a challenge to the resolution, the label will be removed and the RFC process will continue. Ideally there are no changes to the RFC during this period (all typos should be resolved by now, and wording should be fairly clear).

Depending on the resolution, the following will happen to the RFC pull request:

  • resolution/merge: the PR will be merged!
  • resolution/postpone: the PR will be closed and stamped with a postponed label. At some point in the future the pull request may be re-opened.
  • resolution/close: the PR will be closed with no additional label.

Implementing an RFC

Once an RFC is accepted, an associated issue will be opened on the concourse repository repository, referencing the RFC's pull request. This issue can be created by the RFC author or assignee.

By the time an RFC is merged, we should have a pretty good idea of who's going to implement it. This may or may not be the same person that submitted the RFC. Large-scale proposals for example may be picked up by the core Concourse team instead (but obviously that'd be something we agree on prior to merging).

The implementation process itself falls under the normal Concourse development process.


All RFCs, and any accompanying code and example content, will fall under the Apache v2 license present at the root of this repository.

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