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What is a Best Practice?

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A best practice is a process or technique that is generally accepted to be the best known solution to a common business problem. In many cases, best practices allow an innovative new technique to spread across an industry. However, they are widely criticized for being a hallmark of business complacency. Common criticisms of best practices include:

1. Buzzword

Best practice is often used as a buzzword to defend an approach without explaining its value. Saying that an approach is a "best practice" is relatively meaningless and is overused as a decision making justification.

2. Standards Avoidance

A best practice is essentially a weak standard. Anyone can come up with a best practice but a standard implies a formal acceptance of an approach by a standards body. Standards have typically undergone greater scrutiny but are often more difficult to implement than a best practice. For example, standards may be associated with expensive and time consuming certification processes. Best practices are often used as a lightweight approach to loosely embrace a standard. This approach may be viewed in a negative light by those who advocate strict adherence to a particular standard.

3. Resistance To Change

Best practices represent past approaches that aren't necessarily optimal approaches. They are commonly used as an argument to resist change and innovation.

How To Use Best Practices

Best practices have value as a business reference as they represent the way that things are generally done across an industry. They can be used as a benchmark with which to compare new approaches.

Business Analysis

This is the complete list of articles we have written about business analysis.
Audience Analysis
Behavioral Requirements
Best In Class
Black Box
Brand Analysis
Budget Planning
Business Analysis
Business Architecture
Business Attributes
Business Case
Business Conditions
Business Models
Business Needs
Business Needs Analysis
Business Plan
Business Requirements
Business Rules
Business Strategy
Business Swot
Business Theory
Capacity Planning
Choice Architecture
Competitive Intelligence
Context Of Use
Cost Benefit Analysis
Success Factors
Data Analysis
Data Dredging
Data Mining
Decision Analysis
External SWOT
Feasibility Analysis
Fishbone Diagram
Gap Analysis
Ishikawa Diagrams
Management Accounting
Market Research
Needs Analysis
Net Present Value
Operations Analysis
Organizing Principle
Pain Points
Performance Analysis
Problem Analysis
Productivity Analysis
Project Charter
Proof Of Concept
Qualitative Analysis
Requirements Gathering
Scenario Planning
Situation Analysis
Statement Of Work
Statistical Analysis
Story Points
Strategic Drivers
SWOT Analysis
Technology Analysis
Terms Of Reference
Total Cost Of Ownership
Use Case
User Stories
Voice Of The Customer
What-if Analysis
Workflow Analysis
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