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A few days ago I watched a talk by James "Cope" Coplien, titled "Patterns: The New Defacto Scrum Standard". It is then that I learned that "organizational patterns" is a thing. Apparently, Scrum is just a set of organisational patterns - as in, you could define the Scrum framework in terms of organisational patterns, and that would be equivalent to what is defined in the official Scrum Guide. Frankly speaking, I still had no idea how organization patterns are related to Scrum after watching the whole talk.

So I found the Scrum PLoP website and the associated catalog of patterns. The catalog is HUGE, but there doesn't seem to be any kind of foreword or introduction page about how to use that catalog in the context of implementing the Scrum framework, especially for software development.

Has anybody heard about Scrum PLoP before? How do you use it? Or maybe point me to a clear explanation somewhere?

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Patterns are things that have been observed in the world and found to be good. The idea has their roots in Christopher Alexander's work in architecture and planning, primarily books like The Oregon Experiment and A Pattern Language. They were popularized in the software field by the Gang of Four (Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides) in Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software and have since found their way into other topics and fields as well.

Typically, patterns are defined in terms of the problem they are designed to solve, a context (appropriate and/or inappropriate situations for their use), and a description of the solution pattern. Patterns aren't necessarily something that you "use". They are more like things that you are aware of. If you have a given problem, you can look at patterns that other people have applied to solve similar problems. You can then look at the contexts in which the pattern has been observed to be successful and see if your context is similar or not. Then, you can choose to implement the solution.

I've heard of Scrum PLoP before, and have browsed through it. However, it seems unfinished. Not all of the patterns are well-defined and some are missing information about the context and the solutions. I'm not sure what the current state of this project as a whole is, but there are many dead links or bad references.

  • Thanks for bringing up "context". I find the analogy between the Scrum PLoP and the Gang-of-Four design patterns very apt. And I agree that the contexts of the patterns in Scrum PLoP are not all very well defined, at least not as they are presented on the website. Apparently the info on the website has been turned into a book and published just two months ago: pragprog.com/book/jcscrum/a-scrum-book. I wonder if the book would present the patterns in a better, more approachable way. – Kal Oct 21 at 8:28
  • @Kal Interesting. I had heard about a book, but was unaware that it was more than talk. I'm adding this to my Wishlist - I would hope that it's far more complete than the website. – Thomas Owens Oct 21 at 9:50

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