The CoPr Manifesto

Core Practice is business management information provided free, in the public domain, contributed by the community.  We believe this is a revolutionary concept: Core Practice seeks to change the world.  We want to change it in these ways:

1) Change the lives of struggling businesses worldwide (small business owner/operators, businesses in developing nations, startups and the cash-strapped), by giving us free access to useful, sensible advice on how to run our businesses.

2) Change the way business knowledge is distributed, forever.  Core Practice does not represent the opinions of an elite group (although experts do contribute and review).  It represents the people who use it and contribute back to it.

3) Change the way people think about best practice, everywhere it is used.   There is a reasonable alternative that deserves consideration and respect: Core Practice.

Where Core Practice came from

In 2005 I started out looking for a way to take ITIL Best Practice to small businesses in the Kapiti/Porirua area in New Zealand. I quickly learnt that small businesses in general:

  • have no time, money or resources for best practice unless they really have to
  • don't like to take advice from consultants
  • only plan in a crisis

As a result there was nothing I could find worldwide that wasn't way too bloated for a small business to handle, didn't require person-months to implement, and didn't require tens of thousands of dollars of consulting time to assess and plan and implement.

What small businesses needed was something concise, to the point, and quick to implement out of the box. this meant no options, little planning, and very basic implementation - just enough to get the job done, no frills. "If you do nothing else, do these things".

Eventuually it dawned on me that this wasn't best practice at all, it was something else. Around this time I started collaborating with Craig Pattison. We could see that this new concept, which we dubbed Core Practice, was something that had real value.

IoCP CoPr logo
Not everyone can afford or wants best practice. We fully support best practices for those organisations that have the commitment and resources and reason to adopt best practice. For those who do not, something more pragmatic is required, which can be distilled from best practice as well as from legislative requirements and other sources. For these organisations (e.g. small businesses, start-ups, the cash-strapped) there is Core Practice. “If you do nothing else, do these things.”

Best Practice has become something of a sacred cow in business. It is taken as a given that organisations want to achieve best practice in everything they do and an organisation that doesn't is somehow less worthy than those that do. This should not be the case. Pursuing Best Practice is a strategic decision, which should be taken when there is an agreed ROI (tangible or intangible) for the resource investment required to get there.

"Decision" implies there are options: to do it or not. So what is the alternative to Best Practice? Searching the Web will yield some talk of “minimum standards” or similar concepts. These minimum sets have two kinds of targets: meeting legislative and other obligations/requirements, and not failing. But there is usually a negative connotation around these, and there isn't the systematic approach that there is to the concepts of Best Practice.

We believe the world is ready for

Core Practice: the strategic decision to minimise cost in a discipline of the enterprise by implementing practices sufficient to (a) meet obligations and (b) to make processes work to a standard sufficient that risk (to the organisation and to people in its care) is reduced to some acceptable level.

Why we are doing this

We believe this Core Practice is something that has been sitting embedded inside the processes and methodologies of the corporate world for decades and nobody has rendered it into a form useful for those who just want to get a job done, or who don't have the wherewithal to take on the gold-plated option. Maybe they are struggling small businesses, or under-funded government bodies (health providers, schools), or startups, or just average teams in the corporate world trying to "work smarter with less".

We think we can do it and so we ought to.

Why Core Practice is Free

"Free as in freedom, not free as in free beer" (Richard Stallman)

Core Practice is free for two reasons: one idealogical and one practical.
First, making these practices freely available just might make a difference. Hopefully more small businesses will survive and prosper, more government agencies will be able to concentrate on delivering their services and do it better and more efficiently, and developing nations will get access to more of the methods of the multinationals in a useful format.
Second, none of those organisations were ever going to buy it off us.

So pass it around.

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation

Thomas Jefferson

Why we formed the Institute of Core Practice

We don't want this to be a few experts pontificating on how to do things. Core Practice is intended to be consensus content, derived from the user community in much the same way that software like Linux is: through user contributions that are assessed and agreed.

Someone has to manage that process and provide the mechanisms for it to work. Hence the Institute. In addition, the Institute provides a place to go to get some help, advice and discussion.

The concept of Core Practice needs to be promoted worldwide as an acceptable approach to implementing processes and methodologies. The Institute will do this. We want people to be proud to say they are taking a Core Practice approach, as a rational thing to do.

Finally, a community of providers will spring up around the CoPr (CoPr miners, if you like) and we intend to be among them. A certain amount of certification is a good thing in that environment. Who is professionally qualified? Whose products comply? How completely or well have you implemented Core Practice? Who is qualified to measure that and how should they measure it so the results mean something and are comparable? We want the institute to manage these things too.

How you can help

  • Use the practices. Provide feedback (use the forums or perhaps submit a Story).
  • If they work for you, pass them on.
  • Contribute amendments and additions to the content.
  • Become a member of the IoCP and support our work.
  • Buy from our contributors and supporters.
Rob England
Pukerua Bay
March 2006

The CoPri Manifesto is inspired by The GNU Manifesto, written by Richard Stallman