Best practices are not inherently above scrutiny

Josh Ducharme posted a few thoughts about best practices the other day that got me thinking.

The concept of a ‘best practice’ is both critically important and insidiously limiting. Once you know you are conducting your work under parameters set by best practices, why bother being critical, curious, or interrogating the efficacy of your practice further? Logically, what can top ‘the best’?

In truth, I think we can agree that best practices evolve all the time. (Exhibit A: the history of medicine.) We call some practices the ‘best’ in a temporal sense: they are only the best right now, and it is nonsense to imagine that any given practice today will necessarily hold its grip on the throne of ‘bestness’ forever. A more honest label would be: as-good-as-we’ve-got-so-far practices.

Just because a protocol or procedure wins the label of ‘best practice’ ought not mean that it is no longer subject to scrutiny.

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