A best practice is a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. In addition, a “best” practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered. Best practice is considered by some as a business buzzword, used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use.
Best practices are used to maintain quality as an alternative to mandatory legislated standards and can be based on self-assessment or benchmarking. Best practice is a feature of accredited management standards such as ISO 20000 and ISO 14001.
Some consulting firms specialize in the area of best practice and offer pre-made ‘templates’ to standardize business process documentation. Sometimes a “best practice” is not applicable or is inappropriate for a particular organization’s needs. A key strategic talent required when applying best practice to organizations is the ability to balance the unique qualities of an organization with the practices that it has in common with others.
Good operating practice is a strategic management term. More specific uses of the term include good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practice, good laboratory practice, good clinical practice and good distribution practice.