Accelerate your Scrum with patterns

WRITTEN BY Mark Patrick

A design pattern is a re-usable form of a solution to a design problem, given a context. The idea was introduced by the architect Christopher Alexander [1] and has been adapted for various other disciplines, most notably computer science and software development. If you come from the development side of the house, you should be familiar with patterns. Back in the 90’s a bunch of really smart dudes known as the Gang of Four (GoF), inspired by Alexander, published one of the all-time great software engineering books “Design Patterns – Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software”. This book ignited the concept of design patterns in software development. Authored by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson and John Vlissides, it has been influential to the field of software engineering and is regarded as an important source for object-oriented design theory and practice. More than 500,000 copies have been sold in English and in 13 other languages.

Scrum patterns, like design patterns, are proven solutions to repeatable problems, given a particular context.

In similar vein, many of those pattern practitioners from the glory days of OO like James Coplien, Jeff Sutherland, etc. decided to form a Scrum Patterns group known as ScrumPLoP to do for the Scrum industry what the GoF did for software engineering. Their mission, also inspired by Alexander, is to build a body of pattern literature which captures the successful practices of Scrum. Scrum is a context-sensitive framework. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It is not a method. Rather it provides a scaffold to explore and try many different techniques, including the application of patterns. Scrum patterns, like design patterns, are proven solutions to repeatable problems, given a particular context. ScrumPLoP (www.scrumplop.org) is the resource for the library of Scrum patterns. There on the home page you will find a quick synopsis of a few of the more popular and useful patterns, authored by Jeff Sutherland – Stable Team, Yesterday’s Weather, Daily Clean Code, Scrumming the Scrum, etc.

[1] Alexander, Christopher (1977). A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501919-9.

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