The entire IT support infrastructure can benefit from best practices, which are a major component of an IT organization’s strategy to introduce quality and continuous improvement into its processes.
Developing best practices is an important part of the DBA’s job (see “Database Administration Best Practices,” in the October/November 2003 issue of z/Journal). Centralized documentation, process discipline, and continuous improvement should be extended throughout the entire IT organization. This article addresses how to find out where you are, where you should go, and how to get there. We’ll begin by expanding the definition of best practices with some descriptions and examples; then, we’ll review common approaches to discovering and developing best practices in your organization.
Definition and Description
What’s a best practice? According to the Best Manufacturing Practices Program: “A best practice is a process, technique, or innovative use of resources that has a proven record of success in providing significant improvement in cost, schedule, quality, performance, safety, environment, or other measurable factors that impact the health of an organization.” In an IT organization, best practices usually manifest themselves as processes and procedures that the support staff uses to assist its customers. These can range from common error-processing modules in software applications to IT disaster recovery planning.
Best practices consist of:
- Centralized documentation
- Defined processes
- Process discipline (the integration of processes into standards).
Best practices are usually characterized as follows:
- They have a quality measure.