Feature Tracking

For feature tracking we use Github labels to classify new features and enhancements. The following is the description of each category:

Enhancement
Changes to existing features that are not considered a bug and would not block a release. This is an incremental enhancement to a feature that already exists in Zephyr.
Feature request
A request for a feature that is not part of any release plans yet, that has not been vetted, and needs further discussion and details.
Feature
A committed and planned feature with a detailed design and implementation proposal and an owner. Features must go through an RFC process and must be vetted and discussed in the TSC before a target milestone is set.

The following workflow should be used to process features:.

This is the formal way for asking for a new feature in Zephyr and indicating its importance to the project. Often, the requester may have a readiness and willingness to drive implementation of the feature in an upcoming release, and should assign the request to themselves. If not though, an owner will be assigned after evaluation by the TSC. A feature request can also have a companion RFC with more details on the feature and a proposed design or implementation.

  • Label new features requests as feature-request
  • The TSC discusses new feature-request items regularly and triages them. Items are examined for similarity with existing features, how they fit with the project goals and other timeline considerations. The priority is determined as follows:
    • High = Next milestone
    • Medium = As soon as possible
    • Low = Best effort
  • After the initial discussion and triaging, the label is moved from feature-request to feature with the target milestone and an assignee.

All items marked as feature-request are non-binding and those without an assignee are open for grabs, meaning that they can be picked up and implemented by any project member or the community. You should contact an assigned owner if you’d like to discuss or contribute to that feature’s implementation

Proposals and RFCs

Many changes, including bug fixes and documentation improvements can be implemented and reviewed via the normal GitHub pull request workflow.

Many changes however are “substantial” and need to go through a design process and produce a consensus among the project stakeholders.

The “RFC” (request for comments) process is intended to provide a consistent and controlled path for new features to enter the project.

Contributors and project stakeholders should consider using this process if they intend to make “substantial” changes to Zephyr or its documentation. Some examples that would benefit from an RFC are:

  • A new feature that creates new API surface area, and would require a feature flag if introduced.
  • The removal of features that already shipped as part of Zephyr.
  • The introduction of new idiomatic usage or conventions, even if they do not include code changes to Zephyr itself.

The RFC process is a great opportunity to get more eyeballs on proposals coming from contributors before it becomes a part of Zephyr. Quite often, even proposals that seem “obvious” can be significantly improved once a wider group of interested people have a chance to weigh in.

The RFC process can also be helpful to encourage discussions about a proposed feature as it is being designed, and incorporate important constraints into the design while it’s easier to change, before the design has been fully implemented.

Some changes do not require an RFC:

  • Rephrasing, reorganizing or refactoring
  • Addition or removal of warnings
  • Addition of new boards, SoCs or drivers to existing subsystems

Roadmap and Release Plans

Project roadmaps and release plans are both important tools for the project, but they have very different purposes and should not be confused. A project roadmap communicates the high-level overview of a project’s strategy, while a release plan is a tactical document designed to capture and track the features planned for upcoming releases.

  • The project roadmap communicates the why; a release plan details the what
  • A release plan spans only a few months; a product roadmap might cover a year or more

Project Roadmap

The project roadmap should serve as a high-level, visual summary of the project’s strategic objectives and expectations.

If built properly, the roadmap can be a valuable tool for several reasons. It can help the project present its plan in a compelling way to existing and new stakeholders, to help recruit new members and it can be a helpful resource the team and community can refer to throughout the project’s development, to ensure they are still executing according to plan.

As such, the roadmap should contain only strategic-level details—major project themes, epics, and goals.

Release Plans

The release plan comes into play when the project roadmap’s high-level strategy is translated into an actionable plan built on specific features, enhancements, and fixes that need to go into a specific release or milestone.

The release plan communicates those features and enhancements slated for your project’ next release (or the next few releases). So it acts as more of a project plan, breaking the big ideas down into smaller projects the community and main stakeholders of the project can make progress on.

Items labeled as features are short or long term release items that shall have an assignee and a milestone set.