Are 'Best Practices' a Thing of the Past?

Jiwat is a seasoned professional with proven skills and varied academic- and industry-based background in project management. Jiwat brings in contemporary skills and knowledge of current trends in PM.


Practice Areas: Innovation, Knowledge Management

As Dave Garrett noted in the ProjectManagement.com wiki, best practices are the “documented processes, actions or tasks that have been shown to produce superior results; selected by a systematic process; and judged as exemplary, good, or successfully demonstrated.”

There are multiple reasons for using a best practice approach for management of projects. Some of these are:

  1. To hedge against or minimize project risks, and—by using time-tested ways of doing things—reduce the chances of failure
  2. To avoid re-inventing the wheel, and hence optimize the use of time and resources
  3. To leverage upon a common language, a platform, a foundation that is generally acceptable to a variety of stakeholders from a variety of project contexts
  4. To take advantage of knowledge and language that has previously found to be of value
  5. To “stand on the shoulders” of earlier project managers who have honed their methods to achieve project success

Given the practical utility of the approach, over the years a large number of best practices have been identified and documented, such as part of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) framework. These have been widely advocated to help in efficient management of projects of varying size and complexities. However, in spite of this, there have been voices of dissent over the use …

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