Monday, April 02, 2007

Are you making a Cookie or a Meatloaf?

As I was driving to meet a prospective client today, a thought popped into my head about the unanticipated issues that may arise and why. And then it hit me – IdM is a chance to correct a lot of business processes that were developed by humans, and by association there are people to blame (theoretically) on why things have become so complex, and it is our job as professionals to help clean up the broken glass at the very least, or perform a process detox for our organizations. Where did the trouble start? What contributes to the confusion? In the words of the Talking Heads – How did I get here?

So I have blogged about roles, I have blogged about products, and I have blogged about process, I have put my old high level playbook out there, and I have blogged about other identity related drivel and I never stopped to think about how people may have come to the point that they stumble across my blog and start asking questions about identity management. So I thought I would share a few insights:

Where you are doesn’t matter.
Where you want to get to does
How you got to where you are doesn’t matter
How you get to where you need to be does
Knowing that difference is the only difference that will matter

How can I say this? Having helped provision over 1M users and spending WAY too much time on the where my clients were at piece, I can say this with a lot of scars to show for it.

Where was I successful? When I focused only on where my clients needed to get to and focused them and my project teams on the best way to get there.

Let me put it another way – it’s the equivalent of me sitting down with a baker who has called me in to taste a cookie that tastes like crap and they can’t understand why. It’s a complex recipe, lots of ingredients that have been added over the years to make this fantastic cookie and it has crossed the chasm and has gone from cookie to meatloaf. For the record I hate meatloaf (food not the singer), love cookies.

If I was after billable hours, I would review the entire recipe, examine the ingredients, check the measuring cups and spoons, etc. etc. I’m not after extraneous billable hours (or at least I shouldn’t be as a trusted advisor), so in today’s world I would ask, what kind of cookie do you want to make? And then we’d make it with a simpler recipe and one that wasn’t so complex that what started out a cookie has now become meatloaf.

What are the flour, sugar and eggs of IdM?

A single Authoritative source
A well defined to-be process
A team of people that may not have baked before but clearly understand what a kitchen is and know that hamburger doesn’t make a good cookie. Ever.


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