I’ve been hearing a lot about best practices lately, and came to an interesting realization. I’m from an IT background, so I will focus on that area, but what I have to say can be extended to essentially any professional area.
In IT, there are two kinds of Best Practices: those that apply to how we operate, and those that apply to our code. When I hear the term Best Practice, I tend to think of a new coding standard, or a particular step in our development life cycle, such as how we do peer code review. I’ve worked on writing some of these practices, and I agree that they are needed. However, there is something missing.
When you have a best practice, be it process-oriented, or task-oriented, make sure your customers know the practice. If your testing process includes 4 levels of testing, advertise it! If you use the Super Special Coding Standards, advertise it (and include a link so that your customers can find out more about that standard)!
While I’ve heard much about Best Practices at work, I only hear about them internally. As a consumer, I cannot remember the last time I saw a company advertise its Best Practices. As a supplier of a a product or service, you choose to use some practices because of some benefit you think it will have, whether it be improving the quality of your product, or make it simply easier to maintain, or some other reason. However, if you tell your customers what you are doing, what standards you use, they can appreciate the effort you are putting forward for them. Why are you wasting an easy opportunity to brag about your high-quality product?