Sunday, September 25, 2005

VikingPLoP

Once again I’m sitting in the back of an Airbus writing. One of the nice things about flying – well travelling generally – is the long periods of just sitting around. Provided you can use them usefully they are great for reading, thinking and writing. But so often its difficult to use them usefully, on a long flight you just get fed up sitting there. And maybe I’m just trying to make a virtue out of an inconvenience.

I’ve been busy at work and home recently so I’ve had less time to blog. Now I have an hour to spare I’ll probably write a couple of entries – sorry dear reader, I don’t mean to overwhelm you. One of my own rules about blogging is to try and keep each entry to one idea – apart from small digressions – so I think the ideas in my mind just now mean two entries.

This week is VikingPLoP – the Scandinavian patterns conference. This one is novel in that it moves, the first VikingPLoP was in Denmark, then Norway, last year (my first) was Sweden and this year its Finland. Next year? Well, the obvious thing is to begin another circuit starting from Denmark but I’ve heard two other suggestions.
Suggestion one is to go to Russia, St Petersburg may not be famous for its Vikings but it is close by. I like this idea but I wonder how many participants we would get.

The second suggestion is to return to Denmark and stay there, I like this idea too. I think VikingPLoP would benefit from the continuity in location and organizers – different countries means different people organizers.

But the decision is not mine – and I’m glad its not. I am now on the organizing committee for EuroPLoP 2006 and ACCU 2006, two conference is enough for me!

For me there are two notable things about this PLoP and the patterns we’re reviewing. First VikingPLoP has a dedicated “Business patterns” stream. Business patterns have been around for a long time but they’ve been a real niche. Part of my personal objective has been to change this. In the past business patterns have usually been very IT related, I’ve tried to tackle this head on by going for the big issues in business – strategy, marketing, and operations.

The business patterns at VikingPLoP cover business theory (my Business strategy patterns for selling knowledge with products and services), business domains (Cecilia Haskins patterns for conference organizing), patterns for consumers (Susanne Hørby Christensen) and others. It feels like business patterns are coming of age.

And the second great thing about VikingPLoP this year is quality, the quality of the papers is very high and some of them have been a joy to read.

Pattern quality is important. The objective of a pattern conference is to improve quality, through shepherding, workshop review and authors own work. However, there is a feeling among some in the pattern community that quality has been slipping. This is one of the concerns of the EuroPLoP 2006 committee and we are looking at how we can improve this.