Challenging Best Practices

Dinesh Tantri is worried about conventional wisdom on discovering that planting trees isn't always a good idea.  He then talks about a new approach to best practices within in his organization.  Organic KM: Best Practices & Conventional Wisdom

... We have started experimenting with a process that prevents a ritualistic adherance to "Best Practices". Any employee can at any point of time challenge a known "Best Practice". This is then validated by the community which either updates the existing Best Practice with the new suggestion or if need be scrap the existing one and replace it. This prevents Best Practices from degenerating into a static repository of "conventional wisdom". Creating Best Practices repositories in vaccum would not lead us to the results we expect. Augmenting such initiatives with a community does the trick of keeping these Best practices fresh. Community members challenge status quo as they build the practice and gain new insight. The community acts as a conduit for changes that need to be incorporated into a known Best Practice.

I could see the best practices enhanced with the history of challenges to the practice and the resolution to that challenge.  In fact, the history of a given practice (or set of practices) might be the history of how the community has evolved its understanding of the practices.

This is the kind of combination that needs to happen with knowledge management efforts.  Many of the approaches we tout as KM are not terribly interesting by themselves.  But combinations of these ideas, with the right focus on the business drivers, is much more likely to create value out of knowledge management.

1 Comment(s)

Jack said:

I think he would have been wise to have read the report. http://www.frp.uk.com/document_archive/FRP_Annual_Report_2004-2005.pdf

In my opinion the news article which triggered his response was fairly sensational. Reading the report conveys an entirely different lesson.

The report mentions instead that different approaches are appropriate for different situations. The lesson is perhaps that there are NO "best practices". There are only appropriate and inappropriate ones. A practice and the environment must be matched.

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