Monday, September 21, 2009

Project Listening

At the end of my last post I made a reference to pay attention to the customer's needs when planning and executing an Identity Management project:

...Whether you are a consultant helping a client with their solution or an internal employee building your firm's Identity Management strategy, you still have a client, and their needs should always come first...

I recently took part in a Linkedin discussion where the person posting the question asked the question:

...I would be interested in your take on the latest and greatest products to implement for Identity and Access Management needs across the enterprise. Thoughts / comments...

I gave a pretty straightforward answer which covered some informative (in my opinion) basics centering on looking at the basic systems in the enterprise and advised the questioner to move forward from there.

There were a lot of people who went on another tangent, which was a more consultative answer... Find out what you need and then go to match technology.

Sounds like we have a chicken and the egg here.We cannot determine what technology fits until we determine how the technology is to be used. We also cannot determine how to use the technology unless we know what the technology can do.

Who is right? Who is wrong? I don't think either viewpoint is wrong. The fact is the first questions should have been along the lines of:

  • Have you determined use cases?
  • Have you begun to look at what technologies are out there?
  • Who is using the system?

Nothing about management, systems, or anything else. The initial basic tasks must be this broad outline. Once these big questions are answered we can do to then fill in the holes and determine how to answer all the little questions.

Incidentally, my answer came from the fact that the questioner specifically wanted to know about technology. Since the initial posting he has not made any comments on which approach he needed, but I did see that my good friend and fellow blogger, Matt Flynn posted as well!

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