Representing, capturing, sharing and verifying solutions that work and experience.
Patterns are a key knowledge practice, helping with sharing working solutions, recording experience and forming a high level language for articulating local domain theory. This is practical stuff for building and mastering complex knowledge. Here is a pattern about patterns from the Hilside Group
A.1 Pattern: Pattern
You are an experienced practitioner in your field. You have noticed that you keep using a certain solution to a commonly occurring problem. You would like to share your experience with others.
How do you share a recurring solution to a problem with others so that it may be reused?
- Keeping the solution to yourself doesn't require any effort
- Sharing the solution verbally helps a few others but won't make a big impact in your field.
- Writing down your understanding of the solution is hard work and requires much reflection on how you solve the problem.
- Transforming your specific solution into a more widely applicable solution is difficult.
- People are unlikely to use a solution if you don't explain the reasons for using it.
- Writing down the solution may compromise your competitive advantage (either personal or corporate.)
Write down the solution using the pattern form. Capture both the problem
and the solution, as well as the reasons why the solution is
applicable. Apply Mandatory Elements Present to ensure that the necessary
information is communicated clearly. Include Optional Elements When Helpful
to capture any additional useful information.
Distribute the resulting pattern to the largest audience you feel it could help that does not compromise your competitive advantage. Often, this means publishing your patterns exclusively within your company via Intranets or company journals.
Formal pattern writing follows a style, records the problem, defines the context, gives the solution steps and pointes to related patterns. Patterns are introduced and verified within a community. Here their importance, relationships and meaning are shared and their boundaries tested. Accepted patterns are then stored in a pattern library
Here is another useful pattern link
IMO patterns rank with stories, metaphor and analogy as an effective way to work with knowledge.