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What Jurassic Park can teach us about too many stakeholders and past mistakes

Source: Vintage Movie Posters

Dealing with stakeholders is notoriously one of the hardest parts of working in Digital. There are conflicting priorities and agendas that Digital, when making a product or service, need to bring together into some kind of consensus.

There are plenty of Medium articles covering the techniques and skills you can use to work and collaborate with stakeholders more effectively. It's something I am definitely still exploring and learning about myself.

The most obvious issue that happens across organisations and companies though is that stakeholders and project teams don't learn from past mistakes.

Jurassic Park

There's a theme park. Everyone gets attacked. Theme park gets destroyed.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

New island discovered, new theme park is made. Everyone gets attacked.

Jurassic Park III

Everyone gets attacked. The island (pretty much) gets destroyed.

Jurassic World

New theme park. Everyone gets attacked. Theme park gets destroyed.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Probably a new theme park. Everyone probably gets attacked.

Jurassic Park screams of a project that's had a lot of various stakeholder input at the end. Whoever's in charge of the many Jurassic Parks is not learning their lesson. And if it's different people starting new parks, they aren't looking at what their predecessors have done — and more importantly, what they did wrong.

There's a saying that I hear a lot:

“the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” — (generally cited as Albert Einstein, although more likely one of the twelve-step communities)

Obviously this doesn't apply to every situation, but Jurassic Park is a great example. And when it comes to projects, if you repeat the same mistakes, the results certainly won't change.

When working on projects, it's best to keep stakeholders to a minimum. If there's lots of teams that need to have input, they could have a delegate who's trusted to make those decisions. By working with other teams you'll understand the difficulties they had before.

But, it's not just what went wrong or went badly. It's what they did to overcome it, what they did to fix it, and what they did to make it better.

29 June 2018

This article was originally published on Medium on 29 June 2018.