Carlos Leyva

Silicon Stories

Chapter 3

Process Patterns

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To some physicists Chaos is a science

Of process rather than state,

Of becoming rather than being.


Process Patterns are equivalent to a meme complex (i.e. a group of mutually supporting memes) that metaphorically relate to the software development process. Adaptation of these memes, by a software development organization, should result in a cultural transformation consistent with the goal of leveraging technology for competitive advantage.

This transformation, along the lines alluded to in this chapter, and described from different angles in subsequent chapters, is the secret sauce that has for the most part eluded business computing organizations (and others as well). It is more important by far than the latest wiz-bang technology. In order to transform the culture you must infect the organization with the appropriate memes, and disinfect it of inappropriate ones. This implies a deep understanding of the desired results, even as you walk down a road less traveled.

Work in Progress

My intent is to provide a starter set of patterns, a hint of the possibilities. Hopefully, other practitioners will contribute to this effort over time. I will be more than happy to aggregate the content and publish it on any appropriate sites (e.g. www.theb2bdepot.com). Most patterns deal with the non-linearity of the communications process during software development. Non-linearity means the act of playing the game has a way of changing the rules . In terms of the software development process, who the players are and what they do (i.e. to, with, and for each other) matter. Most Process Patterns relate to the social and organizational interactions of the players, and the consequences of these interactions.

The premise and overriding principle of Process Patterns is that they impact the manner in which the players interact. Positive patterns improve the human dialog among team members by orders of magnitude. Improved dialog dramatically reduces the DIP, resulting in quality and time-to-market advantages as described in Chapter 2. The willful use of Process Patterns drives cultural changes by allowing the formation of creative and productive spaces.

Patterns are Good & Bad Behaviors

Some patterns are negative and increase entropy (e.g. Bad Actors & Blame Game) and need to be understood so they can be recognized and eliminated. However the majority of patterns are entropy reducing and positive in nature. These patterns need to be quickly introduced into the meme pool and propagated. The Missing Factory is more of an organizational pattern, as opposed to a process pattern, and will be discussed in Chapter 5. The remaining patterns are discussed next, in no particular order. Many of the pattern names selected turn out to have connotations within the film industry. That was not the intent when I started down this road but it began to make more and more sense, so much so that I decided to dedicate an entire chapter to the similarities.

I must re-emphasize the fact that pattern names, while appearing to name roles, are intended to describe behaviors. These behavioral patterns, although principally embodied in a specific role, increase in effectiveness the deeper they are embedded within the consciousness of the team. The wider and deeper the distribution the more effective communication becomes among team members. In other words, any and all team members should be capable of invoking a specific pattern when necessary, their individual talents permitting.

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