Stop asking “What’s the best practice?” Start asking about the outcome you want to achieve.
In a customer-facing role, it seems like without fail, some customer is always asking “What is the best practice?” Sure, we can answer this question, but why? What does the answer to this question actually get you…absolutely nothing!
“What’s the best practice” is a terribly lazy question. It shows a lack of research has been done because we all know we can find many websites, blog posts, and youtube videos that go over so-called best practices for whatever technology or process you’re implementing. You’re not the first person to solve the problem. Additionally, if a customer actually is implementing something, whether that be a technology, process, or product, they would have a much more specific understanding of the problem they were trying to solve, leading to a detailed question.
If you find yourself asking “What’s the best practice?” STOP!!
Take a moment and think about what outcome you want to achieve or the problem you are trying to solve. Is this the question you really want to spend your time asking? Ask a question that leads to the outcome you’re trying to achieve. If you haven’t implemented containers yet, don’t ask about container best practices! Ask the question that leads to the outcome you want. Even asking “How should we implement containers?” is a better question, that leads to a much more precise discussion.
Information is key
When you get into the depths of the process or problem you’ll be able to talk through a very particular situation followed by a specific question, that should ask about the outcome you want to achieve.
Let’s pretend you’re working at a company in the healthcare industry where you have a lot of regulatory requirements to follow. When you come into a meeting, what value do you get out of asking “What are the best practices for regulated industries when working with containers?” or “What are the best practices for container security?” This isn’t going to get you the answer you want. Ask a targeted, specific question, like “What security should we have in place to ensure we’re following meeting SOC2 regulatory requirements?” With a question like this, it focuses on a specific outcome, ensuring the system is secure under SOC2 regulatory requirements.
There are different requirements based on each industry at a high level and then even more meticulous requirements at each company or organizational level. Some companies may not allow their developers to have administrative rights on their laptops. Each discussion should be molded to these requirements or restrictions, leading to comprehensive approaches to solving problems.
Everyone’s time is important, having targeted questions shows effort has been applied, even if the effort isn’t the best or it’s incorrect, it shows initiative. We can all appreciate that someone took their time to do something and kindly help that person simply because they tried. If time after time, no effort is applied, resentment starts to build.
Make it stop!
I am imploring you, please stop asking “What’s the best practice”!
It doesn’t matter where you are on the journey, ask the question(s) that help you achieve your goals and requirements.