Can we just say “Advice” instead of “Best Practices”?

Yeah, yeah, I know — what difference do the words make? A lot actually.

“Best Practices” implies many things, including:

  • There was some evaluation of multiple practices, and only these were deemed to be “best” by some unspecified but no doubt impressive criteria.
  • Many places/people/organizations do these same practices.
  • Following these practices will make you successful.
  • These practices are somehow scientifical…
  • The makers of the list really knew what they were doing.

I have yet to see any of these implications be true with respect to “Best Practices” I’ve seen.

What is true is that there are practices that have been shown by individuals (and sometimes groups of individuals) to be helpful to them in their situation. Which is perfectly valid and interesting in its own right, but there is no need (or reason) to overstate the case.

The humbler word “advice” is, IMHO, much closer to the mark. Maybe if we dial down the hyperbole truly great ideas will be able to stand out against the noise.

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About jeffkotula

Software engineer, musician, and so on...
This entry was posted in Programming languages, Rant, software engineering and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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