I typically have a hard time in meetings and conference calls when the term Best Practice springs to life. What is a Best Practice? Perhaps I should ask what it means in the context of this post. You can read all about what Best Practice might mean here. 50% of the time I view this as one of the eighty thousand buzzwords that get tossed around during requirements gathering or the whole RFP, RFI, RF* process.
Problems with best practices:
Sure, there really is such a thing as a good course of action or a Best Practice for various issues. News Flash: Not every problem HAS a Best Practice. In fact, a fairly large number of the problems we are trying to solve are likely not going to be solvable by a Best Practice. If there was a specific, well known, highly adopted and strongly verified process to solve the issue we are dealing with it would likely mean our company is not doing anything unique or special. That would be bad because then we would have no competitive edge now would we?
Having established that a Best Practice cannot solve at least a portion of our roadblocks, and having noted we should not avoid tough, lengthy discussions we need to be aware of one more danger. Occasionally there IS a Best Practice that fits fairly well with the problem on the table. Please do not just follow the process blindly. Think for yourself. Sometimes you can just tell that there is a fundamental flaw in the process for your special scenario.
Finally, an example. I tell you, when I was a small child my parents would get upset if I would yell across the house at them. It was quickly set forth as a rule that you went and found them and talked to them normally instead of yelling at them. I offer this as a Best Practice. Now I offer an example where following the Best Practice was not the Best Solution: