How to Use the "Think" Best Practice
After I posted the new Best Practice: Think, Dennis Fisher tweeted “Never catch on. Nothing for vendors (or Gartner) to sell.”
Which is true, but that’s not the point. The point is to be able to ju-jitsu your best-practice cargo-culter into submission. For example:
Cargo-culter: We don’t need a review, this project complied with all the best practices.
Thinker: Oh, really? Did you think?
Cc: That’s not on our best practices list.
T: Oh really? Because it is a best practice, you know.
Cc: Well it’s not on our ISO-approved list
T: So you’re saying not thinking is the height of your aspirations?
Cc: sputter, sputter
There’s an alternative way to use it, which is to point out that “best practices” are generally consensus views, and consensus usually often involves tradeoffs until … you get consensus. As Andrew Yeomans commented, it’s much smarter to call them “effective” practices, or my favorite, proven practices. Both of these raise the question of testing, and leave open the possibility of improvement.