Suggesting "best practices" to colleagues

Subject: Suggesting "best practices" to colleagues
From: Ellena Anagnostis <ellena -at- drexel -dot- edu>
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 13:58:26 -0400

On October 22, someone asked,

"Does anybody out there have thoughts or advice on how to build a good
working relationship with such a colleague, while also encouraging them to
open up to the standards and best practices of the field, as described and
discussed in the major resources of the field (STC and ACM pubs, TECHWR-L,

Since then, many people have offerred their suggestions and opinions about
standards and best practices.

I think that to build a working relationship with your colleague, it will
help to get an idea of that person's background. Maybe he or she works in a
way that has been effective in the past. It can help to ask your colleague
questions to get more information about his or her style; find out what
guidelines the person uses and how the person feels those guidelines have
worked in specific cases in the past. If you feel that certain standards
have worked for you in similar projects or situations, mention the
usefulness of those standards to your colleague.

By having a conversation with the intent to gather information, you create
an atmosphere that leads to discussion, not defensiveness. The "standards"
or "best practices" should help a people in their work. By approaching a
discussion with your colleague in this way, you emphasize how those
standards are meant to help and not to take away from a method that he or
she currently uses.

Hope this helps.
Ellena Anagnostis
Graduate student in the Technical and Science Communication program at
Drexel University

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