How to manage open-source Chef repositories?

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http://serverfault.com – I'm in one of several organisations that both develop and manage deployments of a particular codebase. We have developed a cookbook that deploys the code to a given server. But at the repository level, we obviously have slightly different requirements: different servers, different configurations, etc. What's the best way to manage this, assuming Github? Specific issues: Should we each have our own branch? How should different configurations be expressed? Should we each have an environment, like "steve-site"? Or should we agree on concepts like "prod" and "dev", but each branch implements t (HowTos)