What's the Deal with "Best Practices" - Revisiting the Idea

Dan North, ThoughtWorks

We talk about "best practices" as though they exist-an ideal way to manage a team, develop software, and test applications. All we have to do is discover what best practices are. At best, this is naive, and at worst it's an irresponsible way to approach anything, especially software development. Learning theory-specifically the Dreyfus model of skills acquisition-provides the missing context for practices in general and best practices in particular. Dan North describes how people really learn and acquire skills and helps you discover where and how to use the ideas offered by best practices. See how the arbitrary imposition of best practices is inherently risky and can have a detrimental effect on productivity and morale. Dan explains why the term "best practices" is flawed and suggests more useful ways of sharing experience and evolving what we do.

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