Best Practices?

by adam on March 21, 2009

The BBC reports that the UK Local Government Association has a new banned words list, including our favorite, “best practices.”

Andrew asked me in email if this was a best practice, and I wrote back:

Does it pass the seven whys test?

  1. Why did they ban the phrase? Because it’s meaningless business
    speak

  2. Why is it meaningless business speak? Because it removes context
    and appeals to authoritarianism

  3. Why does it appeal to authoritarianism? Because it simply asserts
    bestness without proving it.

  4. Why does it assert bestness? We’re not sure, but its probably
    laziness

  5. Why aren’t you sure? We’re lazy ourselves. We hear it’s a best
    practice

Nope. Not a best practice, even if it is highly advisable.

5 comments

Test Comment

by alex on April 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm. Reply #

Does it pass the seven whys test?

Shouldn’t that be “five” instead of “seven”?

by adamo on April 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm. Reply #

Adamo-It’s only a best practice if you can ask “Why” seven times and get good answers.

by Adam on April 15, 2009 at 10:59 pm. Reply #

“The 7 why’s test.”

Is that the Best Practice for Best Practice selection?

by Chandler on April 16, 2009 at 11:11 am. Reply #

Chandler,

Heck yes!

More seriously, it’s a demonstrably effective way I’ve pushed on best practices and figure out if they withstand scrutiny.

The seven is empirically based. Nothing that doesn’t make it through 4 “whys” is an actual best practice, most stuff that makes it through seven is.

by Adam on April 16, 2009 at 8:03 pm. Reply #

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