Worst Practices

I know several people (not just context-driven folks) who cringe a bit at the concept of "Best Practices". The point of controversy is that practices depend on context. What's "best" for one context may not be a good idea at all in another context. I suppose it's a bit of a word game, but a team can be led astray if they follow a "best practice" blindly (of course, any time you follow something blindly, you will probably walk off of a cliff). The point is that "best practices" - while they may be "best" in most situations, may not always be "best".

Got it?

But that's not the point of this post.

Unfortunately,I see the inverse of this concept way too much (and I hate to say it, sometimes among the same people who get that best practices aren't always best).

The inverse is, of course, "Worst Practices". Nobody ever calls them this directly, but they are implied. They stem from quotes like these: "That approach didn't work on my team, so it will never work"; or "I have seen that practice fail, therefore it always fails". To me, the concept of "worst practices" has far more negative impact on software engineering than misconstrued "best practices". It frightens me at best, and on some days, almost sickens me.

So here's what I'd like you to do. No matter how idiotic or stupid you think something sounds, the next time you are about to completely dismiss some idea, approach, technique, or anything else, stop and ask yourself "In what context would this idea, approach, concept, etc. be applicable or successful". You may actually learn something.