OWASP Project Stages

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Project Lifecycle

Projects, along with Global Conferences and Local Chapters, are the cornerstone of the OWASP organization. We want to provide a fostering environment for new ideas and energetic project leaders;; however, our global consumers depend on OWASP to provide dependable, quality projects. The OWASP Project Lifecycle represents a balance between keeping a very loose structure around OWASP projects, and ensuring that OWASP consumers are not confused about a project’s maturity and quality. Our lifecycle stages allow consumers to easily identify mature projects, and projects that are proofs of concept, experimental, and classified as prototypes in their current state. The greater the maturity of the project, the greater the level of responsibility for the project leader. These responsibilities are not trivial as OWASP provides incentives and benefits for projects who take on these added responsibilities.

The OWASP Project Lifecycle is broken down into the following stages:

  • OWASP Incubator Projects
  • OWASP Labs Projects
  • OWASP Flagship Projects

Each of these stages is described in greater detail in the sections that follow. At a minimum, all OWASP projects have a project name, a project leader, a project description, a project license choice, and a project roadmap.

Incubator Projects


OWASP Incubator projects represent the experimental playground where projects are still being designed, ideas are still being proven, and development is still underway. The “OWASP Incubator” label allows OWASP consumers to readily identify a project’s maturity. The label allows project leaders to leverage the OWASP name while their project is still maturing. OWASP Incubator projects are given a place on the OWASP Projects Portal to leverage the organization's infrastructure, and establish their presence and project history. Many of the benefits and privileges afforded to projects are dependent upon metrics and statistics that are tracked by the OWASP Projects Infrastructure.

Incubator Project Deliverables

Leaders of Incubator Projects are expected to produce a draft or development release as a downloadable file on the project page within twelve (12) months of project inception. As previously mentioned, OWASP believes in pursuing ideas in a fail-fast manner. In order to avoid an excess of stagnant projects that never mature, projects will not be permitted to linger in an undeveloped state beyond this time period. If a project has not produced at least a draft or development release, the project will be removed from the OWASP Projects Portal. If a project leader subsequently produces a completed release and wishes to re-associate with OWASP Projects, then that project can be returned to the OWASP Projects Portal. Once a project leader has completed at least one version of a concrete deliverable, the project is eligible for graduation into the OWASP Labs (Section 6.7). Note that graduation to the OWASP Labs is optional and a project leader that has completed at least one concrete deliverable may continue in the OWASP Incubator stage.

Incubator Project Stage Benefits

Aside from leveraging the OWASP brand, we can offer a number of benefits to an OWASP project leader for starting a project. These include: Financial Donation Management, Technical Writing Support, Graphic Design Support, Professional Project Review Support, WASPY Awards Nominations, OWASP Projects Track Participation, Opportunity to get $500 for Project Development, and Community Engagement and Support.

Financial Donation Management

As part of the project home page provided by the OWASP Projects Infrastructure, all projects can solicit financial donations. While these financial resources are available to project leaders, there are strict rules for what these funds can be used for. In particular, these funds cannot be used to pay project leaders or contributors for their time spent working on the project. These funds are meant to be used towards project expenses.

Project Review Support

OWASP recognizes that project leaders often have difficulty objectively reviewing their own projects. The goal of a project review is to enable project leaders to receive constructive, objective feedback on how to improve their projects. OWASP Global Projects can retain the services of volunteer professional project reviewers from the OWASP community. As our reviewer pool is made up of unpaid volunteer staff, we are only able to review a project every 3 months. Please note, this service is still under development for the coming year.

WASPY Awards Nomination

Project leaders have the opportunity to participate in the annual WASPY Awards. WASPY Awards are given to those projects that have provided outstanding contributions to the OWASP Community and the Information Security Industry over the year. Any OWASP project can be nominated to receive an award and have their name put into the nominee pool.

OWASP Open Source Showcase & OWASP Projects Track Participation

This opportunity is open to all Open Source Projects. All Incubator project leaders and contributors are welcome to apply for the OWASP Open Source Showcase and the OWASP Projects Track event modules. These event modules are managed by the OWASP Global Projects Group, and they take place at each global AppSec conference every year starting in 2013.

Intra-OWASP Promotion

Additional promotional opportunities are available through a number of other initiatives, activities, and even other projects within OWASP. For example, the OWASP Web Testing Environment (formerly the OWASP LiveCD), Podcast, AppSec Tutorial Series, and CBT projects all interact with other OWASP projects. These types of projects can provide cross-promotion opportunities for other projects. Likewise, there are multiple teams working on internationalization that support ongoing translation efforts. These teams can provide translation services that will help projects reach wider audiences. OWASP also holds and participates in many industry and community events, including local chapter meetings, regional events, and outreach activities. Projects can gain increased exposure through OWASP presence at these events. Note that while OWASP encourages project leaders, translation team members, chapter leaders, conference planners, and outreach leaders to consider promoting mature projects, the final decision rests with those community members.

Opportunity to submit proposal: Award of $500 for Project Development

All OWASP projects will have an opportunity to submit a proposal for $500 stipend that will be used for development of the project. There are restrictions to the use of these funds. Stipends cannot be used to pay project leaders or contributors for work done. Acceptable expenses include travel, marketing, advertising, technology, and development expenses. There is a set amount set aside from the Foundation for this award every year, and there is a proposal submission deadline for the year. Please note, this offering is still under development for the coming year.

Community Engagement and Support

Last but not least, project leaders get first hand access to industry experts, and a wealth of knowledge and support from over 32,000 global OWASP members and supporters.

Labs Projects


OWASP Labs projects represent projects that have produced a deliverable of significant value. Leaders of OWASP Labs projects are expected to stand behind the quality of their projects as these projects have matured to the point where they are accepted by a significant portion of the OWASP community. While these projects are typically not production ready, the OWASP community expects that an OWASP Labs project leader is producing deliverables that are ready for mainstream usage. OWASP Labs projects are meant to be the collection of established projects that have gained community support and acclaim by undergoing the project review process. These reviews are part of the Incubator Graduation Process that is required to enter OWASP Labs. To enter OWASP Labs, projects must be actively maintained, they must meet the OWASP Labs project standards, and they must seek to provide value to OWASP consumers. In recognition of these qualities, such projects are afforded a number of benefits to help grow the project including but not limited to: graphic design support, technical writing reviews, and UI design reviews. In addition, OWASP Labs projects have a primary spotlight in the OWASP Projects Portal, and they receive increased promotional opportunities within the OWASP organization. While projects that graduate to the OWASP Labs can remain there indefinitely, project activity is a prominently featured piece of metadata on the Projects Portal. As a result, Projects without periodic activity will be automatically tagged as inactive. As a result, project leaders are encouraged to maintain the level of excellence attributed to Labs projects.

Flagship Projects

The goal of OWASP Flagship projects is to identify, highlight, and support mainstream OWASP projects that make up a complete application security platform composed of OWASP Projects. Selection of Flagship projects is driven by the GPC, and eligible projects are selected from the OWASP Labs by the Global Projects Committee, in consultation with a working group of independent industry experts. This selection process generally ensures that there is only one project of each type covering any particular security space. These projects are selected for their superior maturity, established quality, and strategic value to OWASP and application security as a whole. OWASP Flagship projects represent projects that are not only mature, but are also projects that OWASP as an organization provides direct support to maintaining. The core mission of OWASP is to make application security visible and so as an organization, OWASP has a vested interest in the success of its Flagship projects. Since Flagship projects have such high visibility, these projects are expected to uphold the most stringent requirements of all OWASP Projects. Selection for OWASP Flagship designation is by invitation only. A Labs project leader can present their case for why they think their project deserves Flagship status. However, there is no deterministic process to be designated a Flagship project. There are no steps to be followed that guarantee Flagship status. This status is reserved for the strategic use of OWASP to identify a platform that supports the OWASP mission to improve the state of application security.