I recently read a a comment (TODO: from HN I think?) about how best practices “by definition” meant that you were doing a common thing and that you wouldn’t want to follow them because it would equate to being average. It was posited that following best practices will hold you back from doing extraordinary work.

I completely disagree with that assessment, and would contend that best practices are more of an ideal to be aspired to. They’re something that has been established and refined through time and experience. Not only that, but it’s uncommon for companies/projects/individuals to actually implement best practices. Even when there is awareness of ways to do things better, real world conditions mean that it might not be feasible due to time, money, priorities, technical debt, Unknown Unknowns, etc. to follow those better methods. People have to make judgement calls given their own situational awareness.

Best practices are admittedly not absolute, and if you’re blindly following them without experimentation, you can’t expect to be pushing the envelope forward on what is state of the art. But I’d argue that you’d still be well above average.

How best practices get defined though, is another topic, and they’re are not necessarily the same thing as Community Standards.