General - Do you know rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools?
Standards should *not* be followed blindly. Aim for continual improvement.
Whenever you're doing something more than once there should be a clear procedure. We call them “standards” or “rules”. That means that there should be lots of standards.
But there are pros and cons to having standards.
- They help speed up the decision making process – getting you to the best decision faster
- They help consistency
- They take time to write in a generic fashion
- Technological rules rust easily. Technologies and techniques change often, so you must be on the lookout for the new and better approaches and continually update these.
- They have errors as they are written by imperfect people.
- People will sometimes follow an inappropriate rule. A set of rules can never predict every path, so cases can and will appear that the standards fail to cater for.
So standards should always help the critical thinking process, never replace it
If you think something can be done better or the standard is simply out of date, you should improve the standard. This is best done as a team effort with everyone making little changes often. Whenever you come across a standard which needs updating or improving you have four options:
- Ignore it and hope someone fixes it (this is punishable by being sat on by a wild hippo);
- Fix it yourself straight away (preferred);
- Fix it yourself later (send yourself an email);
- Ask someone else to fix it (following the change "x" to "y" rule)
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