The agenda for today was actually pretty straightforward. My mother’s still visiting for the holidays for a bit longer, and things have been a bit hectic, so we haven’t really managed to do all that much “touristy” stuff this time around. So the plan was to let her visit a couple of wineries, then have lunch at a particular wine farm here that also has some big cats, see some animals and go home.
Should’ve been simple enough. And it almost went to plan.
So the first part was fine. Wineries were good, even if they weren’t their normal spectacular selves given the clouds hanging over the mountains and obscuring the sun for the majority of the morning and early afternoon. Then we came to lunch. Well, lunch didn’t quite go to plan, because where we wanted to go was full (I should’ve booked, but hadn’t been there to think about it), and the back-up restaurant was…well…
Now, I get it, and there’s a lesson in that part of the experience I’ll save for another day. However, by the time we’d gotten our food, eaten and paid the bill, it was after 3pm. So, off we went to see the animals.
When we got there, they’ve two things. One’s kinda “normal” farm animals, and then they have some lions, and other types of big cats. We came to see the kitties, so that’s the tickets I started to buy.
But the lady behind the counter kinda looked at us apologetically and said, “Well…it’s 3:15.”
Apparently, that was supposed to mean something to me.
I asked, “Ok, yes. So what does that mean?” (Practice 3, ask great questions)
She again kinda looked at me, then looked at the kids…and then back to me.
“Well,” she said. “We feed the cats at 3, and it’s 3:15 now, so I’m not sure how many of them haven’t been fed yet.”
Now, for those of you who haven’t really been around cats that much, big, small, fierce or friendly…
…after they eat…they sleep.
And the likelihood of seeing a sleeping big cat is kinda slim the way things are arranged at this farm, I gathered.
However, I needed to do what all good architects should do: validate my assumptions (Practice 5).
“So, that means we’re probably not going to see anything. Is that what you’re saying?”
“Yes, unfortunately,” she confirmed.
“Ok, I said. So, is it worth it to go today?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “Probably not.”
And so we turned around, made a note to come back either before 11am or 3pm when they get fed, and kept the money in our pocket.
Now, the woman behind the counter could’ve answered me differently if she was actually more worried about her world, or the world of her employer. That would’ve been advancing their objectives of getting more people in the door to buy lion kibbles, and it could’ve been seen as a transaction.
However, that’s not what she did. She was actually looking at things from my world, the world of her customer—and probably, more accurately, from the worlds of the 5yo and 2yo that was also looking at her, wanting to see the animals.
This is exactly what the honest architect should do, and it also happens to follow Principle 2 of The Agile Security System™, understand your customer’s world. Because, while that transaction might’ve gotten her something she wanted, it might have meant we were disappointed. And there’s really no telling what a disappointed customer is going to do—whether they’re a young child, the young child’s parents or the business sponsor of a project seeking security advice.
Now some architects would’ve taken advantage of that situation to push their own agendas. They would’ve focused on their world instead of the customer’s. I’ve seen it many, many times. Deploy a sexy new control that wasn’t really needed. Play with a cool new technology that really didn’t fit the business (or the “But Netflix/Facebook/Twitter/Google does it” syndrome).
But as an effective architect, we can’t do that. As an honest architect, we won’t.
What we’ll do instead is focus on what our security customers really need, and we’ll give it to them—and if we can’t, we’ll tell them.
Now, as part of the next cohort of Building Effective Security Architectures starting in just a few weeks from now, I’m not going to teach you anything about being honest, or directly talk to you about how you make the right call from an ethical perspective to do what’s in the best interest of your security customers.
But what I will be talking about – in great depth and detail – is how to use the 7 Principles and 14 Practices of the system so that you do the best job you possibly can of understanding exactly what your customers are trying to do…
…what capabilities you already have to help them do it today…
…and what you can and can’t do for them if what you already have in place isn’t a good fit.
Along with a whole host of other things that will undoubtedly make you a better security architect and more easily engage and enable the non-security folks you’re really trying to support.
To make sure you’re part of it, head on over to this link right now and claim your spot:
And I do kinda mean “right now” because since I announced the payment plan where people can join the course for $425 that up until yesterday required dropping 4375 pennies, places have started to go a bit faster.
Now don’t get me wrong. That $425 is the first of 12 installments, but it means that the barrier to entry is a whole lot lower, and if your purchasing department’s approval process is glacially slow, you might miss out.
Or you might now. Or you might not care. Or you might not be interested in applying SABSA faster, easier and more effectively than you probably do today…or you might just not be interested in being a better architect.
I’ve no idea, and it’s no skin off my teeth either way. If you want to join the cohort, then do it. If you don’t, then you don’t. Either way…
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive