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is it good practice to share best practice?

Like the loaves and fishes in the parable, knowledge can be freely distributed to thousands. 
Knowledge can supposedly be divided up into separate and self-contained components, known as Best Practices.
One of the characteristics of an excellent company is the ability to identify and share best practices across the organization.
Many people claim that the sharing of Best Practices is a virtuous practice, as it increases the total amount of Knowledge in the system.
Other people mock this claim.  They argue that if a Best Practice was really any good, you'd want to keep it to yourself.

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Best Practices can be regarded as Business Components

veryard projects > knowledge management > best practices > business components

When Xerox started to distribute colour photocopiers in Europe, it found that the French sales force was far more successful than the sales force in any other country.  For a short period, the French sales accounted for about half the total European sales.  This prompted a careful analysis of the components of the French sales success.  Could any of these components be taken out of the French context and used in other countries for selling colour photocopiers?  Could any of these components be used to improve operations in general?  This analysis identified a number of factors, which were then regarded as candidates for dissemination across Europe as best practices.  These included a particularly effective training programme for the sales force, and a particularly effective marketing information system.

Such best practices can then be packaged as components for dissemination.  Sometimes a software component already forms an essential part of the best practice itself.  In other cases, a best practice can be embedded into a software component, which then serves as a delivery mechanism for the practice to be disseminated.  Even if software components are not involved, the work practices can still be regarded as clerical components.

What are the potential advantages of using software components to deliver best practices across an organization?  What are the potential disadvantages?  Which of these advantages and disadvantages are applicable to your organization?

more This is an extract from Chapter 1 of my latest book.  Richard Veryard.  Component-Based Business: Plug and Play.  Springer London, 2001.

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Best Practice Databases

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This page last updated on August 22nd, 2001
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