Release Managers

"Release Managers" is an umbrella term that encompasses the set of Kubernetes contributors responsible for maintaining release branches and creating releases by using the tools SIG Release provides.

The responsibilities of each role are described below.


Mailing ListSlackVisibilityUsageMembership (channel) / @release-managers (user group)PublicPublic discussion for Release ManagersAll Release Managers (including Associates, and SIG Chairs)
release-managers-private@kubernetes.ioN/APrivatePrivate discussion for privileged Release ManagersRelease Managers, SIG Release leadership (channel) / @security-rel-team (user group)PrivateSecurity release coordination with the Security Response,

Security Embargo Policy

Some information about releases is subject to embargo and we have defined policy about how those embargoes are set. Please refer to the Security Embargo Policy for more information.


NOTE: The Patch Release Team and Branch Manager handbooks will be de-duplicated at a later date.

Release Managers

Note: The documentation might refer to the Patch Release Team and the Branch Management role. Those two roles were consolidated into the Release Managers role.

Minimum requirements for Release Managers and Release Manager Associates are:

  • Familiarity with basic Unix commands and able to debug shell scripts.
  • Familiarity with branched source code workflows via git and associated git command line invocations.
  • General knowledge of Google Cloud (Cloud Build and Cloud Storage).
  • Open to seeking help and communicating clearly.
  • Kubernetes Community membership

Release Managers are responsible for:

  • Coordinating and cutting Kubernetes releases:
  • Maintaining the release branches:
    • Reviewing cherry picks
    • Ensuring the release branch stays healthy and that no unintended patch gets merged
  • Mentoring the Release Manager Associates group
  • Actively developing features and maintaining the code in k/release
  • Supporting Release Manager Associates and contributors through actively participating in the Buddy program
    • Check in monthly with Associates and delegate tasks, empower them to cut releases, and mentor
    • Being available to support Associates in onboarding new contributors e.g., answering questions and suggesting appropriate work for them to do

This team at times works in close conjunction with the Security Response Committee and therefore should abide by the guidelines set forth in the Security Release Process.

GitHub Access Controls: @kubernetes/release-managers

GitHub Mentions: @kubernetes/release-engineering

Becoming a Release Manager

To become a Release Manager, one must first serve as a Release Manager Associate. Associates graduate to Release Manager by actively working on releases over several cycles and:

  • demonstrating the willingness to lead
  • tag-teaming with Release Managers on patches, to eventually cut a release independently
    • because releases have a limiting function, we also consider substantial contributions to image promotion and other core Release Engineering tasks
  • questioning how Associates work, suggesting improvements, gathering feedback, and driving change
  • being reliable and responsive
  • leaning into advanced work that requires Release Manager-level access and privileges to complete

Release Manager Associates

Release Manager Associates are apprentices to the Release Managers, formerly referred to as Release Manager shadows. They are responsible for:

  • Patch release work, cherry pick review
  • Contributing to k/release: updating dependencies and getting used to the source codebase
  • Contributing to the documentation: maintaining the handbooks, ensuring that release processes are documented
  • With help from a release manager: working with the Release Team during the release cycle and cutting Kubernetes releases
  • Seeking opportunities to help with prioritization and communication
    • Sending out pre-announcements and updates about patch releases
    • Updating the calendar, helping with the release dates and milestones from the release cycle timeline
  • Through the Buddy program, onboarding new contributors and pairing up with them on tasks

GitHub Mentions: @kubernetes/release-engineering

Becoming a Release Manager Associate

Contributors can become Associates by demonstrating the following:

  • consistent participation, including 6-12 months of active release engineering-related work
  • experience fulfilling a technical lead role on the Release Team during a release cycle
    • this experience provides a solid baseline for understanding how SIG Release works overall—including our expectations regarding technical skills, communications/responsiveness, and reliability
  • working on k/release items that improve our interactions with Testgrid, cleaning up libraries, etc.
    • these efforts require interacting and pairing with Release Managers and Associates

SIG Release Leads

SIG Release Chairs and Technical Leads are responsible for:

  • The governance of SIG Release
  • Leading knowledge exchange sessions for Release Managers and Associates
  • Coaching on leadership and prioritization

They are mentioned explicitly here as they are owners of the various communications channels and permissions groups (GitHub teams, GCP access) for each role. As such, they are highly privileged community members and privy to some private communications, which can at times relate to Kubernetes security disclosures.

GitHub team: @kubernetes/sig-release-leads


Technical Leads

Past Branch Managers, can be found in the releases directory of the kubernetes/sig-release repository within release-x.y/

Example: 1.15 Release Team

Last modified October 10, 2023 at 2:43 PM PST: Remove rapture reference for build admins (f833be44e4)