Patterns And Antipatterns Worth A Peek

Architecture programs can be of great help to organizations for many different reasons.  However, even with the help of architecture programs, organizations run into problems after making certain mistakes. Here at Xentity we believe the institutions of architecture, governance and design guidance needs to address the concepts of patterns and anti-patterns. These in turn create portfolio, solution, and management strategies. All of which help deal with disruptions, investment in innovation, and shrinking budgets. All the while improving services and aligning suppliers and partners.


Below are some examples of external pressure, common impact, or anti-pattern trends that cut across cultural, business, and technology aspects of programs.

  • Resistance to Change Planning: Intellectual approaches without balancing emotional or maturity context, not engaging leaders motives, pain, not seed-planting.
  • Paving Cow Paths:  Automating management problems, function over form, not questioning assumptions, not looking at new (HR, IT, $) resource enablement patterns
  • Geek Speak: Execs don’t get it, and it’s not their fault.
  • Poor Modernization Blueprints: They are a Mile-High, Inch-Deep, without proving pieces at time to gain momentum.
  • Islands of Automation: aka Center of Universe – disparate sites, systems, apps, instead of services in user environment
  • Redundant Buying: Buying same item many times, no architecture  guidance to scale or change patterns.
  • Program Management: Few are delivered on time, on budget, on scope, on quality. Sponsorship lacking, not insuring/governing/buying risk, still not agile PM.
  • Bad Data: Building GIGO Business Intelligence. Asking the wrong question of data which in turn leads to data collection failures.
  • Poor Cyber Security: IT security is seen as a lagging IT cost, instead of asset-risk management issue.
  • Too Much Change: Executives and Consultants promote constant flux, instead of unfreezing, additional change, and institutionalize new efforts and concepts.
  • Problem seems insurmountable: Too large, complex leading to reversion to waterfall project planning techniques. The window for 2 years to test to new overhauling policies no longer exists. Business agility requires negotiation between business for prioritizing and agile project rollout.
  • Vision/Thought Leadership left to higher-ups only: Staff find themselves challenged to truly envision a change or target state not part of their incentive, even though best tactical ideas to enhance/meet strategy usually comes from within. Staff often binds up thinking in current operational mire.
  • Revolving Door: Working to satisfy the management of today for organization political or self interest purposes. Organizations often position or leave middle management to be soft. There are few exceptions on the required drive in managing change. For example, with many from middle management and up nearing or at retirement, large amounts started to retire, the churn caused by vacuum-effect at high level makes long term initiatives difficult to start or sustain.
  • Compliance Driven: Overwhelming amount of data calls with heavy-handed “fines”. Manage and plan to compliance – measuring to ineffectual measures.
  • Compliance too complicated to understand: Cost/Price analysis on subcontractor costs, Self-monitoring/compliance reviews, manage contracting risks, methods and evidence used for estimation, understanding government acquisition regulations. Without expert help, small businesses can only engage.
  • Planning to the beast and not the customer: Fear at operational level of making decisions that lead to a innovative approaches or straying from norm – risk averse. No reward for doing things better.
  • Delivering Value not part of Culture: Not sure of value of what we produce. no clarity on strategic outcomes and therefore have little recognition of recommended initiatives and what they mean to the workforce.
  • Blackbox Syndromes (aka Man behind the Curtain): Information Technology and management concepts and operations are overwhelmed by or shielded from the consumer of customer view. Organizations do not inform Programs/Mission of what IT has to do. This consequently disconnects the executive mission, sometimes thus IT solutions or operations funding tie executives hands. Business agility gets put on backburner regardless of what Portfolio/Project Management is in place.
  • Surviving, not Thriving: Mission management model or system not designed to manage sustained change and transition. Organizations design these systems to deliver a product or service, if lucky.
  • Stovepiped Policy creates stovepipe programs: Cannot collaborate – need to get my task done now. Without collaboration, there is an inability to impart and effectively use prioritization methods or techniques at all tiers of management.
  • Funding mismatch: Budget is a constraining variable in all work formulas precluding optimization across elements. You can synthesize or aggregate – mix and match as you see fit. Some programs receive correct funding. However, there are still misalignments of key functions of program budgets. This limits what is accomplishable as a result.
  • Enterprise Planning flavor of the day: Due to either past failures, or perception that new approaches are repackaged ways tried before kills internal buy-in towards integrated or collaborative techniques. Organizations “tried” enterprise architecture, team functional/segment analysis, or agile project management before. However, they either try to take on too much scope, fail to resolve other factors, or simply over-engineer things, instead of evaluating failures. Unfortunately, organizations do not often label these as the cause. Instead they throw the baby out with the bath water or toss aside enterprise planning. This is typically due to lack of leadership, mistrust or burn-out.
  • Imbalance of Leadership Styles: Quick deciders, Stalling Stabilizers, Never-satisfied Challengers, Start-up Innovators – whatever the persona,  a lack of understanding of what each brings causes consternation or even over imbalance towards one style. Which leads to no decisions, status quo, low morale, or too much change.

It’s A Lot To Take In, But…

The inclusion of patterns and anti-patterns may be new concepts in architecture, but it is helpful to understand how these concepts can be of great help to an organization. They can help with strategy development, addressing risks, and dealing with problems. Problems that include technology disruptions, modernization efforts, and investment decisions.