Traditional Versus Open Best Practices Versus Innovative Initiatives

Quite a bit of confusion can be observed in the field of best practices. While some groups argue that best practices need to be better applied, other groups argue that the same best practices are optimized for a world gone by. Those in need of effective solutions are overloaded with conflicting advice. The following may help to ease the confusion:


Observed Patterns


Traditional best practices/ methods

Process and compliance over common business sense and agility

Strength: Very effective with
highly repeatable tasks and undisputed definitions

Weakness: Difficult to predict
situations; non-linear dependencies; time is needed to adjust to new


Service Management (ITIL)

Project Management

Quality Management

Open best practices/ methods

Common sense, self-organisation, speed and results over restrictive processes, standards and compliance

Strength: Effective with
difficult-to-predict situations

Weakness: What works in a certain space may not work when extended to the wider enterprise; too much freedom
leading to different locations heading different directions

Agile Software Development

Communities of Practice (CoPs)

The Cynefin Framework

The New Way of Working (Dutch: “Het Nieuwe Werken” see for example [1])

Value Engineering

Innovative initiatives/ methods

Opening the mind for fresh solution thinking, self-organisation, utilizing the human mind and “everything is possible”

Usually run by passionate
individuals or small teams and through networks

Management 3.0 [2]

Mental coaching

Constructive Dialogue: Transforming endless discussion into coherent action.

Knowledge Cafes

Plan B

The Stoos Network

The New European Way of Organising (Dutch: “het Rijnlands model“)

An emerging new generation of practices/ methods
complementing each other

(see above)

Management 3.0

Constructive Dialogue

The Three Laws of Performance (mental coaching) [3]

Value Engineering

The New Way of Working

New European Way of Organising

A different and related grouping is that of technology-centric approaches (Intranets, Wikis, content management systems) and people centric approaches (Communities of Practice, knowledge cafes) [4]. At senior management levels and headquarters, a preference can be observed for traditional best practices and technology-centric approaches. Locations and employees seem to prefer innovative and people-centric approaches. The open best practices are somewhere in between.

Noteworthy are Management 3.0 and Plan B. They show attention to lessons learned and issues to overcome in the space between organisations.

The challenge is on to select truly efficient practices, methods and innovative initiatives that are suited for the particular environment, tune them to the specific environment and integrate them in such a way that, together, they deliver a value far beyond the value possible from the individual practices, methods and tools.


  1. RaboUnplugged – Het nieuwe werken binnen de Rabobank: Effecten op werkbeleving onderzocht”. W. de Groot, J. van de Weijer. Congres Gezondheitsmanagement. Presentatie. 2010.
  2. Management 3.0 – Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders. Jurgen Appelo. Boston. United States: Pearson Education, Inc. 2011
  3. The three laws of performance. S. Saffron, D Logan. Jossey-Bass, Wiley Imprint. San Francisco.
  4. “Social KM – de tools en de mensen”. David Gurteen. Congres Kennis in Praktijk. 27-Sep-2012. Rotterdam, Netherlands. Presentation.

About Eugen Oetringer

Driven to find Simple Solutions to Complex Challenges. Especially interested when earlier improvement attempts have delivered insufficient results.
This entry was posted in Avoiding Traps, Best Practice, Bridging the Gap, Bureaucracy, Change Management, Complaint, Conflict Resolution, Constructive Dialogue, Conversation, Effective Solutions, Leadership, Lessons Learned, Management, Project Management, Root Cause Analysis, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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