Are your best practices out of date?

Today’s ‘best practices’ lead to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried. Peter Thiel

The best practices we use today are built on historic environments, they are past practices that were previously successful.

As environments change, best practices should adapt and update. Best practices are not static, they evolve and improve to take advantage of new thinking, technology and environments.

Updating best practices is difficult because people have been successful using those best practices. People like to use familiar processes and in times of pressure will fall back on what they know.

This brings resistance to change. Even when best practices become less effective, it’s difficult to move on from them and embrace new best practices or a new approach.

Project methodology

Project methodologies offer an interesting example. Waterfall projects were the accepted way to deliver IT projects. Agile methodologies appeared and gained popularity until customers were demanding projects are Agile..

Old best practices linger on and Waterfall projects are still happening. Some people change and warn that Waterfall is dead (yet it lives it on)

Waterfall project management is dead

I see Agile is regularly pronounced dead (yet I keep working on Agile projects :-))

Agile software development is dead. Deal with it

Projects are a good example of past best practices being used. Individuals have had good, bad or indifferent experiences of Agile projects and this influences their choice of future projects. We should decide project methodology based on the project, people and the culture, not what was successful on previous projects with different circumstances.

Dynamics 365 CE

The best practices in creating solutions and delivering projects in Dynamics 365 have changed over the last 5 years.

  • Dynamics projects moved from on Premise to cloud
  • Worksflow will be replaced by PowerAutomate (so stop creating workflows)
  • Long running processes using to C# applications running on a server are replaced by Azure functionality (Azure Functions, Logic Apps)
  • Cognitive services have replaced custom code
  • Code has been replaced with no code and low code.
  • Big monolith Dynamics solutions have been replaced by small focused PowerApps, Dynamics apps and everything is connected.

The changes above shows the speed of change and the influence of Azure and the PowerPlatform. The previous best practices, skills and knowledge have been replaced and the people who thrive are the ones who adapt to the new environment.

What should you do

Best practices could still be the best way to do things but it’s important you are open to improving them and don’t blindly implement them. IT is changing at rates quicker than in the past. How you delivered a project and the solution you create today won’t be the same as the project you deliver in 2 years time.

Technology will change and the best practices need to change with it. Question the best practices being implemented, keep learning to see if you can implement new ones.

The past should be respected but the future should be embraced. Don’t waste time fighting the past but focus on creating a better future. Change is an opportunity to make things better. Best practices might not be best practices in the new environment, so question them and look for better practices.

This quote “best practice is, by definition, past practice” came from this article — A framework for decision making, please read it