Andy Pols CTO, Entrepreneur

Best Practices are not the Best Practice

Some agile people have started using the term best practices to describe what they do (such as pair programming or TDD). There are a couple of problems with this.

Firstly, there is no such thing as a best practice! Practices always depend on a context. These practices are not best in all situations. Sometimes you may not need them; sometimes you’d be better off doing something else. People rarely place the best practice in a context.

Secondly it sends out a negative message; we’re the experts and you don’t know what you are doing. While this may be true, it is not the best way of motivating and inspiring people to change!

It turns out that principles are more important then practices for getting people to change. If people understand the principles behind something they are better placed to recognize which practices best fit their need and why a particular practice would be worth adopting.

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