Best Practices. This author does not like this buzz word. How many times during a sales process have you heard the following? “We follow industry best practices”.
Best practices only become best practices through a thoughtful paying forward of one’s careers learning to others in order to shorten their educational curve to the ultimate benefit of customers, partners and other stakeholders they may interface with in the hope that they will do the same thing.
According to Wikipedia a best practice 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.
When a company indicates to you that they use best practices, does this mean they are supporting what is the best practice for the entire industry they serve such as the procurement space. Or does it mean they are the best practices for just their particular product family?
This author does not believe that a best practice is just following a standard way of doing things that can be carried out by multiple organizations. A best practice is a life long process that by its nature has to evolve over time as tools, businesses, and existing processes change so that a current practitioner performs similar tasks more efficiently or cost effectively.
If one uses best practices, the result should be an ideal state that a person or an organization set out to achieve in the first place. In fact if the process used is actually a best practice shouldn’t all of a companies customers use exactly the same process. I’m not sure that this is ever a question one asks when looking for a referral about a companies service offerings. Please tell me about your companies’ best practice? Are they consistent and carried out each and every time to the desired result?
One way to ensure good quality results is to provide templates that can be used over and over again and are evaluated at the completion of each practice or session of a particular deliverable and changed as need be. This then requires passage to other customers in order to insure the integrity of the process. This elevates the actual process beyond just a buzzword and moves a particular process in the direction of becoming a best practice that drives similar results on a consistent basis regardless of customer.
This author will continue to refer to our services offerings as high quality process techniques focused on continuous improvement that deliver anticipated results. Our customers, supplier participants and business partners will determine if they are best practices for them.
We look forward to and appreaciate your comments.