The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) led to considerable improvements in the management of type 1 diabetes, with the wider adoption of intensive insulin therapy to reduce the risk of complications. However, a large gap between evidence and practice remains, as recently shown by the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) study, in which 30-year rates of microvascular complications in the 'real world' EDC patients were twice that of DCCT patients who received intensive insulin therapy. This gap may be attributed to the many challenges that patients and practitioners face in the day-to-day management of the disease. These barriers include reaching glycaemic goals, overcoming the reality and fear of hypoglycaemia, and appropriate insulin therapy and dose adjustment. As practitioners, the question remains: how do we help patients with type 1 diabetes manage glycaemia while overcoming barriers? In this article, the Global Partnership for Effective Diabetes Management provides practical recommendations to help improve the care of patients with type 1 diabetes.