I sometimes get tired of listening to people talk about best-practices, and today is one of those days!
Deming a long time ago started pitching the idea of continuous improvement, back when the Japanese were the only ones willing to listen to him. In his now famous “plan-do-study-act” cycle (PDSA) he popularized the feedback and learn-by-reflection tools. In this cycle he introduces the importance of implementing your plan (not becoming afflicted with analysis paralysis) and then studying it to see what needs to be improved. This is the core of improvement: implement something, and learn from failures (missed schedules, missed sales, etc.) and successes!
Best practice as a concept is an oxymoron with the PDSA cycle and the continuous improvement concept. Best practices assume you know exactly what applies to all or a large class of situations that may have nothing else in common except the environment! A good example of this Best practice disease syndrome is when you are making decisions based on what others have done and learned but not implementing it based what your environment is and what you can learn from it.
By all means read about best practices, but use your brain and adapt the practices to your environment/restrictions. Best practices are only the best for those that applied them first, for you they should be just suggested practices.
OK, I confess there’s one best practice I use constantly, but that’s called “Learning”! 🙂