Do you know rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools?

Last updated by Tiago Araújo [SSW] 5 months ago.See history

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.

Standards should *not* be followed blindly. Aim for continual improvement.

There are pros and cons to having standards:

The pros:

  • They help speed up the decision making process – getting you to the best decision faster
  • They help maintain consistency

The cons:

  • 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

Standards should always help the critical thinking process, but never replace it.

white sign
Figure: As this sign demonstrates, no rule is universal

If you think something can be done better or the standard is simply out of date, you should improve the standard.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 three options:

  1. Fix it yourself straight away by editing the rule (preferred)
  2. Fix it yourself later if it's too big. In this case, send yourself an email
  3. Ask someone else to fix it following the change "x" to "y"

Never ignore a potential improvement or expect someone else to work on it.

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