README Template


This should contain a brief (3-5 sentences) description of the mission of your project. The goal is to state what you are planning to work on and help external contributors understand roughly which types of features will likely be welcome for this project.

See also mission statement chapter in Producing Open Source Software.

Getting Started

This section should contain brief documentation written for first time users on how to get started using the project. Further more detailed documentation can be linked to from here.

Further information

This section can list any or all of the following:

  • A list of features, use cases that the software addresses.

  • Information on design principles that are used to resolve trade-offs

  • Links to further user level documentation

  • Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ), preferably in a format that allows to link to specific questions and their answers for easier reference.

Getting help

This section should contain a brief documentation on how to get help for the project as a user. This could be as simple as pointing users to the issue tracker if this is how your project would like to answer questions. It could also point to an archived and searchable chat channel, some archived searchable mailing list, some online user forum.

Getting involved

This section should include information on how to get in touch with the project: Typically this will contain links to archived, searchable and linkable communication channels.

Who we are

This is a good place to give credit to Trusted Committers of the project.

It's also a good place to include information on what being a Trusted Committer means for this project - although ideally all projects in an organization use the same definition that is only linked to from here. The reason to keep the link here is for colleagues who have no or little experience with working in and contributing to InnerSource projects to have a direct link back to company wide information from the technological projects they need for their daily work.


This section should document (or link to documentation) on all things that a first time contributor needs to know to get started. Typically not all of the topics below will be covered. Focus on what differs in your project from standard setup and what previous contributors found hard to understand.

  • Finding the source code.

  • Finding a list of issues that your project needs help with - these can be both, technical and non-technical issues. Typically you will keep those in an issue tracker accessible to contributors.

  • Links to further documentation e.g. about the architecture of the project, general coding conventions, testing conventions...

  • For technical contributions: Making changes, building the project and testing your changes.

  • Submitting your changes back to the project.

Ideally you also include information on what the preferred process for changes looks like for the project: Should contributors first open an issue and submit a proposal, or are they welcome to submit changes right away? What is important to you when reviewing contributions?

In addition you should outline any design values you want to follow in the project. Making those explicit often helps resolve trade-offs more quickly and more easily. In addition it helps making changes to otherwise implicit assumptions transparent.

Over time you will notice that this section grows substantially. In that case think about moving the information to separate files, e.g. a and

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