Doing something that is “tried and true” no longer makes that action a best practice. Holding on to a best practice year after year can end up costing your company money and manpower. That was certainly the case with newspapers, as described in an article by Freek Vermeulen:
For many decades, newspapers were big; printed on the so-called broadsheet format. However, it was not cheaper to print on such large sheets of paper—that was not the reason for their exorbitant size—in fact, it was more expensive, in comparison to the so-called tabloid size. So why did newspaper companies insist on printing the news on such impractical, large sheets of paper? Newspaper companies, en masse, assumed that “customers would not want it;” “quality newspapers are broadsheet.” When finally, in 2004, the United Kingdom’s Independent switched to the denounced tabloid size, it saw its circulation surge.
This goes to prove that sometimes, companies can be wrong about what they consider to be basic truths. These truths can actually hinder progress for years if it is never reviewed. Vermeulen also mentions that some bad practices do not show themselves to be harmful until years after they have been implemented.
Furthermore, best practices can be made to fail simply because no one wants them to succeed. Vermeulen used the example of the film industry. Films with a lot of big name stars or films that receive a lot of hype from the studio will most likely bring in more money at the box office. This does not mean these movies are more entertain, or that they were more difficult to make, or that they were better written. Vermeulen reminds all of us to consider and question the best practices we have in place to see if they are indeed the best courses of action.