Best Practices Defined

While developing an extensive business efficiency and effectiveness system a few years back, it became clear that a succinct, and useful, definition of best practices did not exist. Therefore, Evan Berglund, one of the principals at EduCel, came up with one.

This definition is now widely adopted, taught at universities across the nation, and used by mission critical operations around the world, including the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, the U.S. Army, UNESCO, and the CDC.

It reads like this:

The most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.

At its core, an easy to grasp, real-world definition, readily applicable to any situation:

E.g., there may be many ways of moving a heavy object from A to B, and some would argue that the chosen methodology should depend on the conditions at hand, which is true. However, in most cases, it would be a waste of effort not to first take into account a method that has proven itself efficient and effective for a large number of people over time; the wheel.

The significance of the Berglund definition is that it sets forth a set of simple standards for how to best take advantage of empirical knowledge for any task: efficient, effective, repeatable, and proven over time for large numbers of people. And, even though these standards are not intended as exact measurements – just as “best” practices are not “perfect” practices under all conditions – they work well as guidelines and “scaffolding” for the thinking needed to improve performance:

E.g., although it may be effective to build a house using 2x6 framing, it is more efficient, as well as effective, to use 2x4s (as evidenced by the large number of builders having successfully used those over the years). Thus, using 2x6 framing does not meet best practices in home building, unless there are unique circumstances demanding changes in the specs.

Simple as that!