Usually, everyone talks about Best Practices. However, we should not underestimate the importance of Worst Practices. What is that? It is not just a reverse of Best Practices. It is much more than that. Read on to find out more…
Photo credit: d_t_vos / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
How do Best Practices evolve?
Perfection and expertise cannot be achieved without making mistakes and facing failures.
When everything is perfected, the best practices and standard operating procedures can be published and everyone just follows them. This is a good thing.
But the mistakes which happened WHILE evolving the best practice are never documented. Due to this, others may repeat the same mistakes.
That is why I intend to publish the wrong things as well. I call these worst practices.
Worst Practice is NOT just a reverse of Best Practice!
Example: Best Practice
When capturing raw data, each piece of useful information must be in a separate column.
Worst Practice – using formatting INSTEAD of data
The best practice sounds too simple – almost like – “ya I got that… what is so important about that that sentence? is it not obvious?”.
Unfortunately, the meaning of that sentence is anything but obvious. The only way to REALLY understand the meaning is to also see the worst practices…
Here are the associated worst practices.
Do NOT use formatting to indicate meaning.
Anything useful must be in columns.
This is wrong. Because no one knows what red and bold means (except the person who did the formatting).
The right way is
Now you can use conditional formatting on Expected Revenue column to make it Red and Bold if you must see the pipeline for March 2015.
Worst Practice: Two meanings in one column
Multiple meanings in a single column.
Typically you would have thought that the Shipment column just needs to be split into Shipment Type and Status columns. But a little more thought leads to a much better data capture.
Worst Practice: Merged Cells
Right method is already shown above.
Worst Practice: Calculations in rows
Calculations are NOT data.
Raw data should be just raw data. Calculations to be done in Pivot Table.
The only calculation allowed with raw data is adding Calculated columns.
Worst Practices Series
From now on, I will be publishing more articles about Worst Practices in the context of many topics. Having written more than 500 articles, I realized that just showing what is right is not enough. People learn the right thing better if they see the wrong thing first.
Why? Because the WRONG thing is familiar