Tim Lister, a Principal of the Atlantic Systems Guild, along with five of his partners at the Guild, have been compiling project patterns from their combined 150 years of project consulting, and they have delivered them in their Jolt Award winning book, Adrenalin Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior, Dorset House, 2008.
We all talk about "best practices" but a tiny minority of organizations actually practice them all. But not to worry, think of "best practices" for human health. We know all about them, but very few of us actually practice them all. Maybe if someone did arduously practice all health practices they would forget to have a life.
Tim has come to believe that project patterns are stronger than best practices. They are the habits, the decision practices, and the corporate culture, the unstated rules, which dominate office life.
The first key is to identify your own organization's patterns. If they are positive, how can you perpetrate them across all projects? If they are negative, how can you break the habit?