Given that in most of the world (except Brazil) it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I thought it would be a good time to tell a little love story of Romeo and Juliet proportions. Of course, the love story I’m talking about is the story of SABSA and TOGAF.
Now SABSA is a bit of a recluse, but he’s a very gifted one. If you give him any kind of problem whatsoever, it’s pretty-much guaranteed that he can find a way to solve it. And another thing about SABSA is that he’s a pretty eloquent communicator. Because once the solution to the problem has been defined, then it’s pretty easy to talk about any part of the solution as it relates to any other part.
But SABSA – as good as he was – had a bit of a problem. He was lonely. And, for a while, and for someone with a strong character and sense of self worth, being alone is ok. However, SABSA didn’t really go in for the monastic guru mountain-top kind of existence, so he decided that he’d go hunting for his soul mate. A kindred spirit if you will, so that not only would his life be fuller and more complete, but that he’d have the support to share his problem-solving ways and teach his communications skills to a wider audience.
After some time of wandering through village after village, he came across a great, walled city. It was called TOG. There were rumors that in the dim and distant past, TOG actually stood for something, but today, nobody really remembers what it is, and so everyone just called it TOG.
As SABSA approached the vast walled city, he happened to glimpse a glint of golden hair sining in the sunlight of an open window, high in the tower.
And from that moment, he knew: this was the woman he’d been looking for.
Once inside the city, he began talking to people and helping them solve problems. And when he did, he would ask about the golden-haired woman in the window. Eventually, he discovered that her name was TOGAF, and, funnily enough, as he was solving yet another very complex problem for a local merchant who was overwhelmed trying to keep the chickens from getting eaten by the hunting dogs he also happened to sell through ensuring that each of them were isolated and treated differently…
…the merchant said to him, “You, SABSA. You keep talking about ‘domains’, and I see that they’re very useful. Did you know that the king’s daughter TOGAF also solves problems with domains? Maybe you should meet her.”
Eventually, and with much persistence, the two were able to meet. And when they met, they were instantly enthralled with each other’s stories of how they solved problems. And the fact that this magical thing called a domain seemed to be coming up again and again, just highlighted that they would obviously fall in love, make many beautiful children and eventually rule the kingdom of TOG.
But, for this to happen, SABSA had to meet TOGAF’s parents and get their blessing. And, let me tell you, they weren’t really the least bit excited by the prospect of these two kids getting together. So they pointed out – in rather dramatic terms – that the domains of which SABSA spoke were clearly nothing like the domains used by TOGAF when she solved her problems.
“What do you mean, ‘anything can be a domain’?” finally shouted the King, in must frustration. “Everyone knows what a domain is, and in fact, we all know it so well, that we don’t even need to define it. After all, everyone knows,” he said.
“And then you come here, and bring this blasphemy that there are more than 4 domains…and that even when we talk about ‘domain experts’ and – this ‘security’ of which you speak about so much – well, of course it fits in this nice little box…
…but it’s not one of the boxes that runs through the other 4 of my daughter TOGAF. It must be separate!”
SABSA’s heart was broken. Why could they not see that it didn’t matter? Why could they not see the true power of the domain to unchain the masses and free the people to do whatever they needed to do—without being locked into a limiting, siloed and straight-jacketed view of the world.
But the King would have none of it.
After much negotiation and concessions, SABSA finally succeeded in winning the hand of the beautiful TOGAF, but under the condition that he would lose his lands and his title, and only contribute his problem-solving knowledge in areas that weren’t already covered by the royal decree.
However, to his credit, he did convince the King to issue a public statement about the power of true domains. That SABSA domains were “so generic and versatile that [they] can be applied to the [kingdom] in almost any relevant conceptual dimension…[or] could [represent] functional roles within the [kingdom’s] organizational structure…[or even present] views of the [kingdom] from a strategic/tactical/operational lifecycle dimension. [It] is so flexible as to not require the formal definitions that TOGAF uses for various scopes…but a description of this concept is well beyond the scope of this” royal decree.
Alas, like most royal decrees, it mostly went unheard, and the madness and frustration plaguing all the knights of the kingdom who tried to fight for the children of SABSA and TOGAF eventually came to naught—save for a few brave souls who retreated into the forest and refused to succumb to the befuddled bumbling of being buried in the weeds.
A domain…is a domain…is a domain…is a domain…
…until it doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to you.
And when that happens, the ability to truly use it to manage the complexity of the problems we face goes out the window, plunging to its untimely demise in the same way that poor Romeo and Juliet met their fate.
Fortunately, there is a way to rewrite the ending of this story in your own security kingdom, but only if you understand how to harness the true power of the concept of a domain—which just happens to even have a reliable, repeatable and formalized model and theoretical foundation, thanks to the parents of our hero, SABSA.
But gaining this understanding has been pretty hard to do, because very few people have delved as deeply into it to understand it, and then bring it back up and package it into a way to “back into” its full potential, almost by accident…
Because now, you can learn how to harness this power yourself as a member of the Building Effective Security Architectures cohort that’s about to kick off on the 24th of February (which is next Monday, so there’s not much time).
If you too would like to join the merry band of “outlaws” who understand how to tame the complexity of the worlds in which we work, then get thee to this link forthwith!
Because the gate comes thundering down at midnight on Friday, which is just 6 days from now. And it’s up to you on which side of it you’ll be.
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive