Project stages

Open Austin categorizes projects into four stages:

Open Austin also supports community members who act as outside contributors to ongoing open source projects whose leadership teams aren’t part of Open Austin.

Start an Experiment

The experiment stage is all about exploring problems or ideas. Open Austin should have plenty of projects at the experiment stage. Most projects will end at this stage, and that’s okay.

  1. Do something and tell us about it. Open an issue at and tag it with Experiment.
  2. Tell us if you need any resources to get started (hosting, mockup tools, etc.)
  3. Come to an Open Austin event and work on share your project

Experiment to Alpha

The alpha stage is about making sure your project solves a person’s/group’s problem. This is the point at which a project becomes an “approved” Open Austin project.

  1. Identify a project’s owner(s)
  2. Get approval from an Open Austin coreteam member
  3. Explain
    • What problem the project tries to solve
    • Who the users are
  4. List the project on Check our guide on how to add a listing to the projects page.
  5. Go through a code/architecture review
    • What is the architecture of your project? We may suggest that you make changes to the architecture.
    • How do you deploy the project?

Alpha to Beta

The beta stage is about getting “more users” and “more feedback.” The project should be looking for more users and recording more metrics.

  1. You should look for government or community partners, if applicable
  2. Start polishing the app
  3. Have a sense of what metrics you’ll be recording and using to measure impact
  4. Plan some launch event

Beta to Official

A project becomes official when it’s polished, well known, has a community partner, and the project leaders have a good sense of the impact of the project.

  1. Have a launch event! Congratulations, you’ve done an awesome job, and now it’s time to enjoy your work.
  2. Have your metrics for usage and impact readily available.

Or Make an Outside Contribution

Often the best way to use open source technology to solve a civic problem is by improving a tool that’s already being managed or developed by someone outside Open Austin. When you make outside contributions to open source projects, you may not want to use Open Austin’s project management process, or you might want to choose only the parts that make sense for your work. In that case, Open Austin is still available as a setting to share ideas and seek collaborators.

When you bring an outside project to an Open Austin event, it should still be consistent with Open Austin’s code of conduct.


I have a project that I’m already working on. Can Open Austin endorse my project?

Yes! Follow the steps listed in moving from experiment to alpha.

Also, Open Austin can do more than just endorse your project. We can provide you with:

Does my project have to be open source?

All Open Austin projects beyond the experiment stage should be open source. As far as choosing a license, choose whichever one fits your project best. Our projects have used the Unlicense (public domain), the MIT License and the GNU GPL.

I have an idea for a project, but don’t know how to make it or don’t have the time to make it.

Even if you don’t have the resources to make your project, you can still invite other people to work on it by opening an issue at

I don’t have a project. How can I help?

Check out the ideas at, or check our experimental issues list at

I have more questions. Who can I ask?

Email [email protected] or ask on the Open Austin Slack.