Friday, April 9, 2010

Forget about copying best practices

By the time a best practice has been transferred from one company to another, it's most likely no longer a "best" practice. In a static world maybe, but not in the world we live in. At best, it will be a "great" practice, but more likely it will just be a "good" practice. And as it is transferred to more and more companies, it will eventually turn into a "common" practice, which can mean anything from great to bad - it's just something a lot of companies use. Some companies seem to satisfied with that, but they really shouldn't. Why settle for anything less than the best?

Companies that offer best practices to customers are trying to sell something that can't deliver what it promises. The dilemma is, of course, that most customers won't pay that much for something that is labeled as just "great" or "good".They expect "the best", and best practices promises just that. They promise exclusiveness, something unique. But a copy of something is not either exclusive or unique. It's just a copy.

If you are looking for best practices, then you should try to develop these best practices yourself. You sure need to study the practices of other companies, and you might need to turn to someone who has the skills and experiences which are needed. But don't ever expect that you can buy a best practice off-the-shelf as if it was a commodity. It's not that easy to become the best at something.

So, go look for inspiration and help if you need to, but try to forget about copying best practices.