We all have workarounds… Things that we do to make the software do what it is supposed to do. They are often clever and creative. They obviously work, but they are ways of using the software that was not intended by the developers. We use them because the software fails to work as we expect or as advertised. You can find them all over the internet, posted by users on AUGI or on blogs or wherever.
We use them because they get the job done. They produce what we need done. They make the software create what we want. They get us over rough spots, around corners, past roadblocks and over hurdles. We all do it. It is part of using software that is either new or not as mature as we had hoped.
On TechTarget they are defined as…
A workaround is a method, sometimes used temporarily, for achieving a task or goal when the usual or planned method isn’t working. In information technology, a workaround is often used to overcome hardware, programming, or communication problems. Once a problem is fixed, a workaround is usually abandoned.
On the Internet, when a file is attached to an e-mail note, the file may be undesirably altered by programs or operating systems at the origin, destination, or points in between. A workaround to that problem might be to simply use a different e-mail program to send the note.
TechTarget also defines…
A best practice is a technique or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result. A commitment to using the best practices in any field is a commitment to using all the knowledge and technology at one’s disposal to ensure success. The term is used frequently in the fields of health care, government administration, the education system, project management, hardware and software product development, and elsewhere.
What happens if a Workaround become a Best Practice?
Workarounds are supposed to be temporary. Best Practices have more permanence.
When a temporary fix becomes permanent then you may have some troubles. The Workaround may still work, but…
1. It may block you from moving ahead with a Best Practice. Best practices always move forward. You get rid of the old ones in favor of new ones.
2. Workarounds may lock workers into old methods that actually hamper follow on work. They can create strange entities within a file or model that others just don’t understand.
3. Workarounds may not be uniform throughout the firm. Everyone gets creative in getting their work done. They may all come up with differing methods. Some groups may have one way of doing something and others have another.
4. Workarounds don’t train new users in the proper use of the software. If you learn the workaround before you know that actual software tools, you may end up not knowing the platform you use every day.