Monday, November 05, 2007


Enterprise Architecture: Do you abuse the phrase Best Practices...

The phrase Best Practices flips the "yet another buzzword" bit of many of us literal-minded architects...

"Best practices" is becoming a synonym for "the way I do it". It is used as a marketing term and as an argument for the status quo. Usually the folks using this phrase also are savage practicer's of hand waving when doing presentations.

I am always busy correcting folks and telling that there is no such thing as a best practice. I do use the phrase: practical considerations and sometimes decent practices to describe practices that others should consider.

Best Practices is often used as a shortcut instead of thinking for oneself. If a practice is good, it should be possible to justify it in its own terms; and if not, calling it a Best Practice will not improve it. Whether a practice is good for me or not depends on what I am trying to do with it. Just because some others in a similar (but not identical) industry do something and have judged it to be (or call it) best practice does not automatically guarantee that it will be good for me. Small differences in situation can result in a large difference in effect.

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