Here we see the Mandelbrot Set. An illustration of one of
the most important and powerful patterns known to man (and nature) - Recursion.
There are two types of patterns:
Firstly we recognise that patterns exist everywhere in just about
everything and especially in nature - a self-optimising system for the
sustainability of living organisms that are Effective (reproduction),
Efficient, Agile and Durable. Hmmm - sounds la bit like an Enterprise! Patterns
promote efficiency and elegance in the structure (Architecture) of things and
how they work. Things that have discernable patterns tend to be much better
than those that do not.
Secondly we recognise that patterns can be used as high level
general solutions to commonly occurring problems. A (design) pattern allows us
to reuse these solutions with a high degree of certainty that they are
effective and efficient. Someone (and probably many people) have already done
“the hard work” and this allows us to “stand on the shoulders of giants”. They
can be small or large and their size does not necessarily imply importance.
Design patterns can be structural (aka how something is
organised) or transformational (aka how something is changed). Some patterns
can be a mixture of the two - for example Software Design patterns tend to
consist of structure as well as algorithms, whereas other patterns can be
purely structural such as technical reference models.
Architects see patterns everywhere. Their brains are hard
wired that way. Why do we look for patterns? Because patterns reduce
complexity. Where they cannot see a pattern they tend to create one! This tends
to be an iterative process where a pattern is initially chosen, mostly on gut
feel, and then that pattern is used to map things to it. In the process of
doing that it may be seen that the pattern was not correct and so the pattern
is changed and we repeat the loop.
Architecture is essentially patterns/styles. For buildings,
many people look at a building and say “wow - look at the architecture” which
implies the physical building itself. Actually the architecture is not the
building itself. The architecture is the patterns/styles behind the physical
building such as Art Deco, Georgian, Regency, Modernist, Gothic, etc. There are
hundreds of Architectures (Architectural styles) in the Building domain.
However, there is also a downside to patterns. Patterns
promote conformity and sameness (within limits) and so careful consideration
should be given to when patterns should be considered to be a friend or an
Do you agree that there is
massive value in patterns?
How much time is spent in your
Enterprise understanding and maintaining patterns?
What problems exist with
documenting and maintaining patterns?
Who should be responsible for
Are people in your Enterprise
given the appropriate time and resources to find, model and maintain