Monday, April 20, 2009
Can you share best practices?
I heard a comment today saying basically that best practices can't be shared, even within a company. They have to be discovered. It got me thinking, can you share best practices?
Templates are good examples. Ideally, these are developed based on best practices. I have heard very strong arguments on both sides of the discussion on whether or not you should use templates.
On one side, by definition, every project is unique and so a template forces you into doing something based on how another project or set up projects were run. Of course with agile, the idea is to not force to much process on the project, which a template can do. It's also putting documentation in front of delivering value.
On the flip side, certain tasks are going to be the same for a lot of projects. For example, justifying the project by means of a business case. Having a standard approach to this step creates a more efficient way of carrying this step out.
The real key is being smart enough to know when a template can help and when it won't. In addition, you should be able to effectively modify a template to meet your project's needs. If your organization forces you to follow steps and use templates, then you have a challenge ahead of you.
So getting back to the first question, can best practices be shared? I think the answer is yes, but...Knowing how someone else does something may give you ideas. Someone else may have solved a problem that you are faced with. The key is to know if their approach is going to work in your environment or just make your problem worse.