The War on Best Practices

Posted in Software Development by Dan on August 15th, 2012

Every now and then in this profession it is necessary to take a step back, reassess the situation and realise that what you are doing, what you have always been doing, is utterly stupid. Somehow you’ve acquired a dubious habit, or adopted someone else’s superstition, and through unquestioned repetition it has become enshrined as a best practice. It may have made sense at some point but now it’s just the way we’ve always done it, the way that everybody else does it.

Dilbert on best practices.

The term “best practice” is an insidious corporate platitude, an appeal to a non-existent authority, and an excuse to justify mediocrity. If you aspire to something more than mediocrity then eradicate the notion of best practices. Best practices destroy critical thinking. These aren’t good practices, or proven practices, these are best practices. Why bother considering alternatives? What could be better than the best practice?