Does a best practice exist?

It is common to hear people say they are implementing the best practice, but is there one universal ‘best practice’ ?

The answer is simply no – there isn’t just one best practice for how you plan a product or deliver projects. There  are methodologies, but none of them  are the same as a best practice. The best practice is the optimal way of working to reach the desired outcome in a particular context. To determine this way of working a number of factors should be considered:

  • the culture of organisation
  • the culture of people and country (not the same if in a very international office)
  • the people, their experience, skills and background
  • the need of the company (like fast to market, very predictable)
  • the challenge

The learning from other organisations should also be taken into account, but blind copying a methodology and call it best pratice is not likley to result in the most optimal way of working – it needs to fit the context.

One example of not just one best pratice: I have managed deliveries for many years and have seen how a long term pretty locked down plan has been best practice in one organisation and a very dynamic plan, maybe only lasting for a week or two was best pratice for other organisations. Building a web site for a promotion and integrating a enterprise system require different work practice

Mike Orzen summarise it very nicely in a tweet:  There is no such thing as a “best practice”, only practices that you adapt to your unique needs.

The ‘Best Pratice’ should be renamed to the ‘Right Way of Working’


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