Ammunition against ‘best practice’

I was asked this week for help in responding to a person who continually supported their approach by calling it ‘best practice’.

Best Practices: Who Says?

“The fact is that we really don’t have a mechanism to formally establish best practices in the software development community.”

“… I’ve begun restricting use of the term ‘best practice’ in articles that we publish in IEEE Software. In most cases, ‘good practise’ or ‘effective practice’ serve as acceptable substitutes.”

Best Practice

A completely fatuous concept based on two dangerous assumptions:- a) someone else knows what’s best for you b) you don’t have to think about your context.

No Best Practices

“Go ahead and follow your favorite practices. Just don’t preach that the rest of us must follow them, too. Keep your process standards to yourself. If you want to make a suggestion, make one that takes context into account.”

Useful Practice

  • BestPractice – someone else knows what’s best for you
  • UsefulPractices – you are stuck deciding what’s best for you. It’s your butt, after all.
  • BestPractice – you don’t have to think about your context.
  • UsefulPractices – you are the one in your context. So pick what works for you there.
  • BestPractice – you can have success by doing these things without understanding anything about them.
  • UsefulPractices – only through understanding of the practices and their principles do you stand a chance of succeeding.
  • BestPractice – is an exclusive practice. These are best. We know best. The work is in selecting out.
  • UsefulPractices – is an inclusive practice. These seemed to work. We have some ideas. The work is in selecting in.
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