Today was the “back to school” night for my son’s school, and one of the things we got to see was what they were doing in the new classroom, and in particular, the “identity board” project they’d been working on for the last week or so. And in the upper left corner was a picture of a pool of lava from a volcano. Now, mind you, it was mostly blue with a small spot of orange, but that’s ok.
It seems his fascination with lava is a bit more than I realized, because when we’re walking around the house, he’s always calling out, “Don’t step in the lava, Papa!!” Because he’s turned the throw rug, or the rumpled blanket or even just random parts of the floor into bubbling, boiling and burning pools of lava…
the perils of his Hot Wheels collection that go careening into it on regular occasions resulting in the most satisfied, “Whssssshhhhh!” noises emanating from my son.
What’s this got to do with stakeholder interviewing, you might be asking about now?
As it turns out, more than you’d initially suspect. You see the road to developing the skills to successfully engage and understand the worlds of your customers is littered with pools of lava you need to avoid.
The price if you don’t is pretty high:
Killing your credibility by asking them something so obvious they don’t trust you to walk out of the office without banging your nose against the doorway…
Wasting their time by asking them questions they’ve been asked – and with the answers widely documented – by other teams 100’s of times before…
Failing to accurately capture what they said so you don’t have to come back to them later to “fill in the blanks”…
or even asking them to fill out a 30 page, pre-interview questionnaire that takes them 2 hours of their time, isn’t really relevant to what they do, and asks them to make judgement calls about things and decisions in your world they haven’t the foggiest clue about.
Each one of those – and more than a few others – are just like my son’s pools of lava, endlessly devouring his Hot Wheels cars.
But unlike my son’s cars, that miraculously bounce back to once again jump off the same cliff and…once again…get turned into molten pools of metal…
The impact of stepping into one of the stakeholder interviewing pools of lava is a bit more permanent—or, if it’s not permanent, it’s at least a pretty serious setback on the road to successfully delivering the mission and purpose of security.
Soooo…. while it’s not exactly the secret treasure map where each of the pools of lava are clearly indicated within your specific organization, the upcoming issue of the Security Sanity™ print newsletter does give you the means to identify and avoid quite a number of those lava pools…
…before you’ve burned your leg off and start to feel the heat on your short and curlies (and I means the ones you’re thinking, not the ones it actually means).
You can get it here: https://securitysanity.com
But only until the September issue goes to the printers, and then it’ll be too late. And, as of today, that ball starts rolling down the hill faster and faster, so I’d advise not leaving it right to the end.
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive