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Contributor Ladder Growth Programs

These programs place an emphasis on learning in groups for active contributors that would like to be a reviewer or other leadership roles like a Chair. The groups are semi-structured learning environments over the course of three months or a release cycle. Want to get /lgtm rights? Be a decision maker in an OWNERS file? This could be a great way to get the knowledge you need, and some accountability to do it. Through this program you will get the opportunity to interact with active contributors who may be on the same path as you as well very experienced Kubernetes contributors.

How This Works

This program is built around our community membership guidelines as well as our Chair and Tech Lead governance descriptions. These docs show how you can grow through the project in different roles and provides the requirements to get to each level on our ladder. Building trust is key.


  • No more than 4 mentees per 1 mentor; no more than 8 total in the group
    • this scales better than 1:1 and peers can help each other in a community setting
  • Everyone is on the same journey Member -> Reviewer | Reviewer -> Approver | SIG Member -> Chair
  • Three months / one release cycle
  • Private slack channel For you to progress, the community wants to know you are dependable and understand the domain.

Mentors can rotate facilitating once a week for slack standups with the expectation that cohort members need to check in with a predetermined status update (accomplishments, challenges, etc)

Benefits of a Cohort

  • Peer mentoring
  • Clear goals, objectives, and timelines
  • Each mentee is working toward the same goal, cohort has an end date/timeframe
  • Exposure to multiple areas of the project making well-rounded contributors
  • Mentors share time commitments and responsibilities
  • Exposure to multiple mentors in an open and collaborative environment

Mentor requirements

  • Github Org Member
  • At least the same level as the goal of the group (example: Reviewer for Reviewers)
  • Time commitment: facilitate biweekly, hour long zoom sessions plus curriculum planning in between sessions (~1-2h/wk total).

First Cohort Success Rates

5/10 graduated into OWNERs files from members to reviewers in 2019. 2 are subproject owners in 2021.


I'm a SIG Chair/TL/Subproject Owner and have a need for more members, reviewers, approvers, how can we form a cohort?
Reach out to #sig-contribex in slack or file an issue against kubernetes/community

I'm a contributor looking for a cohort, where do I go?
Look in the kubernetes/community repo for issues labelled "contributor ladder mentoring"

I'm not a chair, tech lead, or subproject owner but I'm a reviewer or approver, how can I help?
Talk to your Chairs and Tech Leads about forming a group that you can help mentor.

Important Links

Mentor Guide
Mentee Guide