Michael McLaughlin has something to say: The Worst Thing About Best Practices
Here are four reasons you should dump best practices:
- They rarely work.
- It's a follower's strategy.
- Change comes from within.
- They don't come with a manual.
[via Column Two (and others)]
This topic comes up from time to time in knowledge management circles. In isolation, I absolutely agree with McLaughlin. However, if they are part of an intelligent process, such as he suggests at the end of the article, best practices can be quite helpful. Some possibilities for best practices:
- Check your thinking. Don't use them to do your thinking for you, but if you are heading in one direction and the best practices suggest another, be sure to understand why.
- Continuous learning. You've got good mechanisms in place for your business, but what are others doing? Where can you improve, based on what you hear from others?
- It's an example. After all, best practices in one company or department are a window into how they think in their context. If their circumstances change, their practices may change. The same goes for you.
And as I am learning from re-reading Goldratt's The Goal, practices that are promulgated as "best" or "industry standard" can be quite counter-productive. For example, do you really want all your resources at 100% utilization?