2020-04-08 - Development Management - Communication

Present: Bastien Montagne, Brecht Van Lommel, Campbell Barton, Dalai Felinto, Nathan Letwory, Sergey Sharybin

This meeting was proposed by Dalai to streamline the communication. The end goal is for the blender.org admins and release manager to be on the same page regarding the work process, the roles and the goals for Blender.

Meeting and greetings

Some short time spent checking how everything is going. Sergey brings up that would be nice to have more separation from work and personal channels (e.g., email) now that everyone is working from home.


A lot the problems we (meeting participants) have are common to the bigger developer group, as well as well as the Blender community. We focused on our particular communication issues though, leaving how to apply this for other levels as a follow up.

  • Discussions started in 1:1 or small groups making other people feel left out.
  • The feeling of being responsible for an area but powerless to make own decisions.
  • Overall animosity or aggressive rebuke seeing in the communication channels.
  • Lack of initiative or incentive to reach out the team members directly.

Small group discussions

It is not practical to include everyone at the same time in every single discussion. And it is often more effective to build consensus by reiterating the idea with smaller groups, so the idea is more mature by the time it reaches the masses.

There was no consensus here - some prefer text chat over video or live meetings and vice-versa. It is not practical or realistic to restrict how people communicate. It is more important to make sure all discussions are handled in an open way. This includes chat discussions.

Someone starting an idea should he allowed to build consensus over it however they prefer. The process should be as open and digestible as possible.

Responsible but powerless

For some time the main decisions for the project were left in the hand of a few people. And now that the team is big, there is this disconnection between still having a lot of decisions but having to convince others of these ideas.

Being a blender.org admin (or module owner, or, …) doesn’t mean to make the decisions yourself. These are people trusted to handle the decision making process well. Hear the different sides, build consensus, make sure the process is open and to pull people into the discussions,

Aggressive communication

There is no room for sarcasm, meanness and any form of aggressive communication in our channels. If someone can’t handle that, go to a private chat, have a video call, ask for help. It is everyone’s responsibility to be professional about it and make the work environment a pleasant place.

Cut out the middle-person

We loose too much time by not directly solving some of our issues. Everyone should be approachable for the work. If not, we should solve whatever is getting on the way, period. For example, there is no point in involving the developer coordinator in phabricator changes if it is something the infrastructure team can handle with the devop engineer.


We are to use the public channels when possible, present topics for overall discussion early on, and feel empowered to follow through with any topic that one deems important. Dalai is available to help organizing these topics, the communication, gathering consensus, … But there is no reason for someone to not take the initiative in presenting new issues and even lead the process. In other words, the involvement of everyone can be active instead of only reactive.


The meeting ended with a short round of what is the priority for the project moving forward. Some of this was already asked for the members, and can be presented as:

  • Process
  • People
  • Code quality

On top of these three points, it was mentioned: polishing; wrapping up initiated projects; technical debt (sand foundations); more modular code structure.


To put in practice what was discussed we agree on getting the following topics out of the way. Some of them are not the most pressing matters, but it is a good occasion to try out our communication skiils.

  • Bastien + Sergey - make deps and install_deps.sh wrap up.
  • Campbell + Sergey - doxygen discussion wrap up
  • Nathan - devops plan of attack wrap up (agreed with Sergey)
  • Dalai - follow up on the topics, specially in regard to use open communication channels for the role discussion.