Organizations strive to achieve efficiency and predictable outcome while targeting business goals. As business grows, organizations need to change to adapt to new circumstances. Organizations may choose to experiment with different ways of working to see which suits best. But this approach is inefficient and may lead to inappropriate decisions. A far more effective way of making changes is to look at how successful businesses operate and to introduce their ways of working into business.
Why reinvent the wheel?
What are Best-Practice frameworks?
A best-practice framework is a collection of well established and documented – techniques, methods, processes, activities that are more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. Best practices can also be defined as 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. Best practices are employed in various domains including business, governance, quality assurance, software development, performance management, risk management, and IT management. Some focus more on technical aspects, others more on business factors.
Examples of best practices frameworks are:
- ISO 9001 – a management system for quality.
- Balance score card – a framework for performance management using business metrics for effective decision making.
- Enterprise Architecture frameworks such as TOGAFTM and ZachmanTM – aim to link business functions to information technology (IT).
- COBIT® – a framework based on best practices for IT governance.
- IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) and ISO/IEC 20000 – are best practices framework and management system for IT Service Management (ITSM).
Implementing best practice frameworks
Best-practice frameworks refer to processes as the main abstraction to define scoped work (e.g. ITIL, COBIT and eTOM refer to processes). The term “process” in these frameworks often refers to the scope of work (the “what”) rather than how this work is organized and performed. This scope is subject to subsequent specialization and refinement.
Implementing processes defined in such frameworks involves:
- Choosing and understanding a framework appropriate to the domain;
- Refining and specializing the abstractions presented in the framework;
- Mapping those abstractions into the target environment by creating the organizations, roles and processes described in the framework, and
- Assigning responsibilities and tasks to the defined roles. Assigning responsibility means that individuals or organizations are being charged with a specified scope of work.
A best practice strategy can help organizations to:
- Become more competitive
- Increase sales and develop new markets
- Reduce costs and become more efficient
- Improve the skills of their workforce
- Use technology more effectively
- Reduce waste and improve quality
- Respond more quickly to innovations in your sector
Organizations can make a big difference by comparing their operations with the most effective and profitable enterprises, and then using their most successful elements – the “best practice”.
Contributor: Aamir Jamil, CGEIT, CISM