Organizational Patterns Workshop
by Michael Beedle
The following participants met last March at ChiliPLoP:
Michael Beedle
Neil Harrison
Barry Kaplan
Urvashi Kaul
Don Olson
Linda Rising
Our goal was to talk about the state of organizational patterns in the broadest sense, and including the discussion of:
  1. who the authors of the org patterns were, and how we could get them involved in writing a CPL (common pattern language)
  2. what patterns had been written and what were their current relationships, and what was "our vision" to combine them into a CPL
  3. who were the users of org patterns and what was our current relationship with them, and we were going to get them involved even more
  4. how the architects of the org pattern language were currently organized and how they were going work together to weave the existing patterns and pattern languages into a CPL
The workshop provided the following deliverables:
  1. Context. We accounted for the current state of the organizational patterns in terms of how the patterns were organized (product), and how it was communicated to the world. In doing so we identified the following issues:
    1. duplication, inconsistencies and "holes" in the current pattern languages
    2. overall structure is not visible
    3. current patterns and pattern languages are not in understandable form
    4. pattern styles don't match audiences
    5. org patterns are not easy to introduce/deploy and internalize in organizations
    6. lack of communication among architects, writers and users of the CPL
    7. CPL architecture team is not producing updates for the patterns at the org patterns web site

  2. Architects, writers and users lists. We should gather a comprehensive list of everyone who could possibly be involved.

  3. Resulting Context. We discussed what we needed to do to make org patterns successful:

    1. Out to the world
      1. Make the patterns understandable and readable by management through: - taxonomies/views/pictures (functional area, role, organizational type/stage, etc.) - minimal pattern form (executive summary, 5 basics, etc.)
      2. high level book (this is "why" you need patterns)
      3. patterns CD
      4. management handbook for patterns deployment: case studies, stories, interviews, accounts by other authors
      5. video

    2. Deployment
      1. assess org
      2. key areas of business
      3. funding
      4. politics
      5. examples
      6. incremental development of business
      7. training
      8. implementation strategies
      9. checklists

  4. Pattern language structure and taxonomies. As a starting point, we used Jim Coplien's org patterns. We mapped them into a pattern language diagram, in which we added other org patterns from different authors. (Unfortunately, and due to time limitations, we only placed added about 20 patterns other than those by Jim Coplien.)

  5. A list of immediate tasks to be done:
    1. spread the word about the activities of this workshop
    2. document what we did (this document)
    3. contact writers to get clearance for editor rights to treat each pattern with an individual copyright
    4. determine policies for the web site
    5. taxonomies
    6. document pattern language structure
    7. explore the concept of a "context web"
    8. keywords
    9. make list of users
    10. future meetings (PLoP '98, OOPSLA, ChiliPLoP '99)
    11. video/infomercial

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