Jul 052006
 

Recently I purchased and began reading “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization” by Peter Senge, as I was doing some work on developing processes for organizational training as per the requirements of CMMI. I was hoping to gain insight into how to design a training program for our company which thrives on learning and continuous improvement. Instead, I learned about a whole new area of interest for me: systems thinking.

As an experienced software developer, I’ve learned to employ design patterns in certain situations to create well understood and easily maintainable programs and components that transcend my own understanding. When you see a singleton pattern in use, you know what it is. When you discuss implementation approaches and call out the command pattern by name, the details are well understood.

When I came across the concepts of systems thinking and system archetypes such as the ‘limits to growth’ archetype, I was very excited to learn that such concepts existed. Immediately I thought, these are design patterns for business! By giving names to these patterns of behavior and the tools to model them, business systems can be clearly communicated to anyone. Those who are familiar with these concepts will know exactly what you mean when you utter the phrase ‘shifting the burden’ and indicate a problem symptom and a fundamental solution.

Needless to say, I’m excited to master these concepts and those that build on top of them. In my head, I’ve discovered a whole new set of ‘design patterns’ specifically geared towards communicating and solving business problems. Stay tuned for more on this subject.

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