No best practices?

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No best practices?

  1. 1. What’s the deal with Best Practices? Øredev 2007 Dan North - ThoughtWorks
  2. 2. I am…
  3. 3. Motivations <ul><li>Ensure consistency </li></ul><ul><li>Support learning </li></ul><ul><li>Limit (potential) damage </li></ul><ul><li>Commoditise resources – mobility, flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Enforce control </li></ul><ul><li>Manage risk </li></ul>
  4. 4. With apologies to George Lucas <ul><li>Fear leads to Risk </li></ul><ul><li>Risk leads to Process </li></ul><ul><li>Process leads to Hate </li></ul><ul><li>… and suffering and meetings </li></ul>
  5. 5. What causes fear? <ul><li>Rational fear comes from knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Irrational fear comes from ignorance </li></ul><ul><li>Most fear is irrational… </li></ul><ul><li>… so we can learn our way out of it </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Dreyfus model <ul><li>Novice </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced beginner </li></ul><ul><li>Competent </li></ul><ul><li>Proficient </li></ul><ul><li>Expert </li></ul>
  7. 7. “Practices” <ul><li>Things we do </li></ul><ul><li>Behaviours </li></ul><ul><li>Prescriptive </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Dreyfus model… and practices <ul><li>Novice… needs practices! </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced beginner… uses practices </li></ul><ul><li>Competent… defines practices – uh oh </li></ul><ul><li>Proficient… falls back on practices </li></ul><ul><li>Expert… subverts practices </li></ul>
  9. 9. “Best” <ul><li>Absolute qualifier </li></ul><ul><li>Context-independent </li></ul><ul><li>Unambiguous </li></ul>
  10. 10. Lean… a software best practice? <ul><li>Lean supply minimise inventory </li></ul><ul><li>Lean manufacturing minimise variance </li></ul><ul><li>Lean product design maximise discovery! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Recap - what are “best practices”? <ul><li>Absolute prescriptions of behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>… to stifle the creative environment </li></ul><ul><li>… to frustrate your best people </li></ul><ul><li>That has to suck </li></ul>
  12. 12. So we’re done, right? <ul><li>Not quite… </li></ul>
  13. 13. Where are best practices useful? <ul><li>Protecting people from themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Getting people through the advanced beginner stage </li></ul><ul><li>And that’s all - unless… </li></ul>
  14. 14. Better “Best Practices” <ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive rather than prescriptive </li></ul><ul><li>Pros and Cons </li></ul><ul><li>That sounds like a pattern </li></ul>
  15. 15. Summary <ul><li>“ Risk averse” == scared, and that’s ok </li></ul><ul><li>Software is a creative activity performed by skilled people </li></ul><ul><li>So the best Best Practices are neither “best” nor “practices” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Thank you <ul><li>It’s beer o’clock! </li></ul><ul><li>Dan North </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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