Need to capture experience and expertise?, introduce new ideas into your organization?, want a template to document rationale and good practice?, wish to explain and teach novices?, share solutions that have been tested and validated?, provide a 'language' to convey & improve difficult concepts?
Patterns are a fundamental knowledge practice that rank alongside lessons learned, after action reviews, yellowpages, social network analysis, knowledge mapping, advanced search and data mining - yet patterns often get little recognition in formal KM publications.
Why should I care?
Patterns when applied with energy, adequate social negotiation, critique and sensitivity, represent meta-best practices. They capture the best of the best. An assembly of patterns gives rise to a super language, a high level efficient and very rich discourse. Patterns are part representation , part knowledge artifact (thing), and part compact solutions. Patterns may represent strong reification, they carry meaning and an investment of energy (cathexis). They make for interesting objects and the pattern community displays very useful dynamics.
Comes from the social vetting and testing that happens as part of the emergence of a pattern culture. Writing good patterns, forming a pattern language and collecting anti-patterns is hard but very rewarding knowledge work - an advanced practice for your group or team.