Introducing Patterns into Organizations Workshop October 15, OOPSLA 2000


Frances Evans and Amy Strucko work for Structural Dynamics Research Corporation. They are in the process of introducing Patterns into their organization to use as tools for internal communication and training, best practice documentation and customer consulting.

Potential Pattern Additions to Evolving a Patterns Culture

Name: Patternization


You are an Evangelist hoping to become a Dedicated Champion. You are having trouble in convincing others in your organization of the value and relevance of a Patterns approach. You want to generate some initial patterns tailored to your company to demonstrate the concepts.



How do you generate initial patterns on company time without management approval to work on patterns?


"Patternize" existing documentation. You may well have been using patterns already and just haven't realized it. Many companies encourage employees to document best practices or lessons learned in a more freeform manner. Scour this documentation for potential patterns and with minimal time, extract meaningful patterns from it. If possible, name the patterns with existing buzzwords your colleagues will recognize. If your company does not have best practice documentation, try to combine pattern authoring with another activity you have been asked to do as part of your workload. For example, if you are to give a presentation summarizing important findings from a recent project, think patterns as you are preparing your notes. Even if you do not present your results as patterns, you can very easily document your findings in a patterns format in parallel to the work you'd be doing anyway.

Resulting Context:

You may be able to create a large volume of patterns with very little effort and without compromizing your current job description.

By "patternizing" existing concepts, you will ease the transition to patterns in your company since your coworkers will already be familiar with some of the names and ideas even if they are new to the pattern format and terminology.

By rewriting existing documentation as patterns or by thinking patterns as you create new presentations or documents, you will likely in the process refine the concepts, improve the descriptions and add extra structure. In essence you may help to simplify and rationalize difficult concepts that others have struggled to communicate. This in itself will help to sell the Patterns approach to your organization.

Known Uses:

We have used this pattern in SDRC. It is how we got started.