Blender is an open-source program for creating 3D computer graphics and computer animations. The program comes from the mind of Dutch Ton Roosendaal, who wrote the first files on Jan. 2, 1994, Blender’s official birthday.
26 years later, much has changed, Blender has grown to an organization of over 40 employees and has an active community of over 100 developers contributing to Blender. Their mission: “Freedom to create.”
But not everything has changed; after 26 years, the same man is still at the helm, founder Ton Roosendaal. A man with a strong vision and still as pivotal in the organization. In 2020, he realized it was time to pay attention to how to further shape Blender and what was needed to future-proof the organization.
We began by working with the Ton to sharply define Blender’s mission and ambition and translate it into an appropriate organizational format. This organizational classification was converted to clear definition of roles and responsibilities. At the same time, a scan was conducted to determine key organizational issues related to that ambition.
From this scan came a plan of action with a focus on empowering the people themselves. Blender employs a very talented international team, each with his or her specialty. As a result, they work a lot independently and are mostly directed on the content of work. The personal piece was somewhat underemphasized; guidance, development and management of employees could be improved. From the foundation they have laid, namely clarity in roles and responsibilities, employees can work more specifically on their development.
A Bunchmark partner worked as an interim HR manager an average of one day a week to implement the above. She ensures that the organizational layout actually comes from paper and remains appropriate in the face of change. She coaches founder and management in managing people and helps employees themselves with development plans and actions. To support this, we conducted a “feedforward training” where employees got to work concretely on development actions and asking and giving feedback to each other. As a follow-up, a workshop was held with the team to delve even further into their role, development plan and helping each other with this.
The length of cooperation and trust from Blender give us the opportunity to help Blender step by step in its development.