What is a Best Practice?



Best practice is an idea that asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people. - Wikipedia


There are a number of reasons that spur an organization to institutionalize a best practices capturing mechanism. Listed below are some of the more widely accepted reason why Best practices are needed, these points are an amalgamation of thoughts and ideas echoes by a number of people who've experienced their benefits.

Demonstrated Success : There have been many instances where one particular unit of a corporation has started doing much better than the rest. A causal analysis of its processes generally finds certain modifications and improvements that lead to this dramatic rise in performance. In an effort to replicate this process improvement across all other units considerable effort is put into identifying these process changes and trying to replicate them, this is one of the main causes for companies to implement a best practices capturing methodology.

Decentralizing : In order to maintain a light support overhead most companies have started downsizing their corporate support teams that were initially responsible for inventing, discovering and transferring best practices. Now most of the individual business units are expected to handle this load. However with an increasing need is being felt to re-establish these teams that can help with identifying and transferring these best practices across business units, as the cost savings associated with these best practices far outweigh the costs of maintaining a corporate support team.

External Forced factors : In a number of instances, clients threaten to move to another vendor if certain improvements aren’t made to existing processes and systems. This is another instance where corporates are spurred into action and where hidden best practices are unearthed in an effort to meet their clients expectations. Usually with massive cost benefits as a secondary gain.

External Benchmarking indicators : The very idea that other companies are doing things better than we are automatically prompts corporates to take a serious look at their existing processes and best practices. An external benchmarking agent can show companies where they stand in the corporate world, encouraging them to improve their existing system, by implementing a best practices system.

Potential gain : Internal benchmarking allows companies to identify hidden potential, it gives them an idea of what is possible if the necessary efforts are made. Adding a dollar amount to the benchmarking figures also enables them to clearly envision the massive savings, or gains they can make by implementing certain best practices.