Friday, June 1, 2007

Good practice, best practice - which is better ?

I overheard a recent conversation about the ITIL v3 definition of Good Practice and Best Practice.

There were comments like.. "organizations once they've attained Best Practice will move to Good Practice". I was confused... surely "Best" is better than "Good".

Then I did some reading.

Sharon Taylor in the forward of the Service Strategy book uses the term "Emergent".
She summarizes that ITIL provides "good practice structures with room for self-optimization."

and later in the same book (Service Strategy) best practices are defined as "patterns in action"... that reflect "superior outcomes".

Combine these elements and we it is plain to see that early adopter organizations that use a framework like ITIL (provided they get it right) are the "best practice" leaders... over time, others in the industry catch up, so that the best practice of a few becomes the good practice of many.

Now the challenge is for the few to set new superior limits and establish themselves as best practice leaders in their industry - while their competition stays at the expected good practice baseline.

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The IT Skeptic said...

yes but...

we only know what is "best" after it is proven and compared to "not best" to see that it is better, so early moving thought leaders may be doing best, they may be doing latest loony theory of the month. How would we know?

June 2, 2007 9:48 PM  
ITSMer said...

ahh, you're such a skeptic, skeptic... :-) however, the point you make is valid..

We tend gravitate towards that which is good and shy away from that which is not good.

How does an organization know the difference?

Experience - the same as it is for individuals. Organizations have value systems and abilities to spot that which is worthwhile and that which isn't. Experience is a by-product of time.

Time is needed to prove something of being worthy of following or not.

Time will tell if ITIL v3 will be accepted and considered as worthy of following.

To preempt the obvious question of "how much time" will be needed. No one knows the answer to that - only that we'll know when we get there.

June 3, 2007 9:09 AM  
rv said...

Practitioners may prefer to use the term "good practice" because though the practice may be verified, it may not have gone through a comparison and vetting/peer review process to give it a "best" grade. Some practitioners prefer to use the term "effective practice" and more lately, you come across the term "next practices"..

September 24, 2007 10:06 PM  
rv said...

Some practitioners use "good practices" as it does not imply a comparison even though it will be evidence-based, still others prefer to use the term "effective practices" which is probably better than both "best" and "good" as they are both context specific. The latest term in the practice community is "next practice" which goes one step further. Check out the powerpoint slide from the Innovation Unit in the UK and also the work by Dr. Prahalad at Ross School of Business, Michigan.

September 24, 2007 10:15 PM  

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