🦓Best Practices are Doomed to Failure if Implemented Blindly😎

🦓Best Practices are Doomed to Failure if Implemented Blindly😎

Best practices guide IT growth, but require thoughtful implementation to succeed.

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4 min read

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is."
Jan LA van de Snepscheut.

The prevalent view is to provide a set of best practices that span all IT disciplines. This is also often referred to as benchmarking. Best practice is based on the idea that the best way to learn is from the experiences of others. The goal is to establish the maturity of these IT disciplines within the enterprise, and acknowledge that different disciplines may be at different levels of maturity. If all disciples are measured and evaluated, does maturity mean that best practices are blindly implemented? Most executives in an enterprise consider IT spending to be wasteful and out of control. Not surprisingly as often the proportion of spend on IT is only secondary to human resources and property expenses.The reality is that no modern enterprise can divorce itself from IT, and executives need to balance the reality of the cost of IT versus the automation benefits it provides. A method to reduce IT costing and contribute to higher service levels is to use best practices. These provide a high level of process discipline, simplification and standardization, and alignment with business goals. An enterprise will be successful if its processes are based on best practices and implemented with methods that are disciplined, repeatable and audit-able.

Drivers

The drivers for best practices are:

  • globalization, technology;

  • removal of boundaries;

  • placing value on intellectual capital; and

  • focusing on value as defined by the business.

Goals

The goals of IT best practices are:

  • Managing the demand for IT services;

  • Securing relationships with business;

  • Analysing where to invest IT funds;

  • Estimating the size of projects;

  • Managing project changes;

  • Rationalizing what services to offer to business units; and

  • Deciding what information to put on a portfolio dashboard to measure performance.

Benefits

The benefits of IT best practices are: quality, consistency, efficiency and flexibility.The characteristics of a best practice are:

  • proven coding practices (patterns), designs, reference architectures, or business methodologies;

  • Well documented practices that are widely used by peer groups; and

  • continually evolving practices.

Myths

The promise and benefits of using best practices have led many enterprises to identify and establish them. In their haste to gain this advantage, some enterprises misuse the concept of best practice. Realizing the power of a “best practice” moniker, a bad practice is incorrectly promoted as a “best practice”. This is used to bludgeon team members into following or using it. Some common myths of best practices are:

  • #useditoncesowelluseitagain: The most common myth around best practices is that if there is a solution to a problem (especially if the problem has been difficult to solve), then this solution should qualify automatically for a best practice. Since this is usually the first solution to the problem, it generates enough euphoria among the small community affected by the problem to declare it a best practice. This is incorrect, as a solution has to first mature into a practice, and then further into a best practice.

  • #practiceassimulation: A practice that uses other best practices does not automatically become a best practice. This myth is most prevalent in development, where best practices are defined as patterns. However, simply using a best practice in creating a new practice does not automatically qualify the new practice as a best practice. It may increase its chances of maturing and succeeding as a best practice, but patterns should not be applied indiscriminately. Often a system is complicated at the cost of performance.

  • #openstandards: The complexity of current e-business applications and systems requires a set of standards, common templates, and open environments to facilitate interoperability and flexibility. However, the fact that a practice uses open standards does not automatically make it a best practice. Team members using standards can still produce poor results.

Blind implementation

Blind best practice implementation may also limit lateral thinking, as perceived solutions may in fact be little more than entrenching and perpetuating mediocrity. The so called best practice may very well be second best to a different approach from a totally different angle. The bottom line is that it is how you get to the solution, and not the actual solution!Best practices assist the enterprise in improving the maturity of their IT systems. if adopted correctly. The implication is that IT in an enterprise builds maturity in a staged manner and does not undergo a radical transformation.

Principles

The road to transformation requires the following principles to be embraced:

  • the long-term success of IT and improved value for the enterprise lies, to a very great extent, in IT’s ability to develop and sustain genuine relationships with business;

  • a view of the customer that asserts that he or she is a valuable asset to be managed; and

  • deciding that you want long term relationships and not a boxdrop.


Ronald Bartels ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa. Learn more: 👉 Contact Fusion