Mike-o-matic has a great piece called “Dont pave the cowpaths”. A very well written piece illustrating why, we should not be doing things a certain way, just because it has been done like that for a long time.
I have seen this happen a lot of times in my job and in my personal life. It is especially true of beurocratic government organizations. I have heard of several trivia (I cant recall even one now !) where a certain law/application was created when the British were in India, and the same application is followed even now. Several fields in the application are just plain irrelevant now.
The cowpaths analogy is from Dallas-Fortworth, which used to be a cattle town. Mike says that he attended a seminar where the author claimed that the current roads in and out of DFW used to be the cow paths of yesteryear, which have been paved now. The roads meander their way into town crossing creeks at shallow areas etc. What used to be good for the cows need not necessarily be good for us, as in this case.
Mike makes his case in point with the IT industry, but I think is relevant to any industry, and infact to anyones life.
Read the full entry here.