blueegg - Experience Design UX Agency Sydney - Mad Max 4
Beyond Thunderdome

3 Lessons Thunderdome taught me about Stakeholders…

May 22nd, 2015 Posted by Uncategorized 0 comments on “3 Lessons Thunderdome taught me about Stakeholders…”

With the release of Mad Max 4, I thought it was time to share a few thoughts.


With the release of Mad Max 4, I thought it was time to share a few thoughts. But Adam why are you in a position to be able to comment on this? What does it have to do with UX and do you think the thunderdome is real?

Firstly on why. I must confess that, I was in Mad Max 3. I am one of those small kids who got introduced to leather and mud at a young age and got to sit with Mel Gibson and be part of the post apocalyptic world and thunderdome.. I have kept this one quiet for a while but I thought 30 years was a fairly safe time to share my story..

Thunderdome is one of those words to come from a movie that has entered the vocabulary. It is used as a way of describing almost any scenario where there is an anticipation of  conflict with one getting there way over another. It is associated with a scenarios that is almost a fait au complet where there is inevitably no way to successfully get your point across.

Like many words in the English language, their meaning often changes from when it was first coined. Thunderdome was always an environment where one would potentially triumph over another. But it is also one where the underdog is able to win against odds. I would say that this approach suggests that not only can you be in a hostile environment but you can successfully win agreement for your point of view with possibly negative stakeholders.

1. Always prepare for why: Coming into an environment where you feel strongly about a particular issue that is contrary to key stakeholders can often be a challenge. Simply basing your thoughts on emotions and feelings will often lead to you loosing the debate. You have to be prepared, come armed with evidence to support your decisions and put your case forward.

2. Keep a level head: This is not one of those family lunches where the crazy uncle has some opinions that are not based on any logic but he believes he is correct. With stakeholders it is important to always keep your head, be calm and put your case, argument or position forward in a reasoned way.

3. Be a story teller: Ideas or positions based on complicated problems are often difficult to put forward in a clear precise way. Story telling, by use of tools like personas, journey maps and sketches help to both visually and insightfully argue your ideas and justify your decisions. This is the most important of our roles as all stakeholders respond to being taken on a journey. Don’t resort to those long, come over for a viewing of my recent holiday photo stories but something with a narrative will help support your case.

I am not suggesting that you also carry heavy artillery like was in the original Thunderdome but I do think preparation will help you in your battles with stakeholders. The role of not just UX practitioners but all levels of business, calls for effective and positive engagement with stakeholders. Whilst I have ditched the mud and leather from Mad Max 3, I always aim to carry the tools and calmness to put my case forward.

You will not always win but if you are prepared, have a level head and tell a story then you will usually avoid the carnage and apocalyptic conclusions of Thunderdome…

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