Anti Pattern: Anti Pattern Abuse

Anti Pattern at Work?


It is really interesting how people react to terminology, and ‘Anti Pattern’ is an emotive term, especially in managerial or behavioural contexts. In many organisations the presence of Anti Patterns is significant. Highlighting them without good cause and due care, and without a clear plan for their discontinuation, is an abuse.

Framing is also key, and focus needs to be on replacement of the Anti Pattern with a positive alternative. When I write and talk about Anti Patterns, I highlight the villainous characteristic of the design or behaviour in ‘the abstract’ (parables work well). Anti Pattern analysis is very important, as is the manner in which the conclusions of the analysis are applied and communicated.

Putting up ‘Anti Pattern at Work’ warning signs is not likely to be helpful or conducive to long-term harmonious relations. Anti Pattern Abuse is an Anti Pattern in itself.

The Anti Pattern Codified

Anti Pattern Name: [Anti Pattern Abuse.]

Type: [Management, Technical, Communications.]

Forces: [Have Anti Pattern Catalogue, will use.]

Context: [An over-zealous codifier abuses the use of an Anti Pattern catalogue and points out a slew of negative design, managerial and behavioural characteristics with no consideration of impact and the need for a positive and motivational action plan.]

Resulting Context: [Acrimony, demoralisation, negativity.]

Solutions: [Codify and analyse Anti Patterns. Look for Patterns that eliminate the Anti Pattern(s) and frame any changes in positive terms. Remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” Apply the wisdom in your Anti Pattern catalogue with humility and tact.]