Pattern language, team culture

Currently, I’m re-reading the excellent essay Mob Software: The Erotic Life of Code by Richard P. Gabriel and Ron Goldman, in which they quote Christopher Alexander, from his book The Timeless Way of Building, as:

Let us start by seeing how the great cathedrals, Chartres and Notre Dame, were made within a pattern language…. There were hundreds of people, each making his part within the whole, working, often for generations. At any given moment there was usually one master builder, who directed the overall layout…but each person in the whole had, in his mind, the same overall language. Each person executed each detail in the same general way, but with minor differences. The master builder did not need to force the design of the details down the builders’ throats, because the builders themselves knew enough of the shared pattern language to make the details correctly, with their own individual flair….

Follow-up: I interpret this as pattern languages functioning as shared visions for teams; as team cultures. I still haven’t gotten around to buying myself a copy of Alexander’s book. It’s about time.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on October 9, 2002. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.

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