Object-Oriented Software Design Patterns Applied to Management Theory

Object-Oriented Software Design Patterns Applied to Management Theory

Eric Tachibana (National University of Singapore, Singapore) and David Ross Florey (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-687-7.ch016
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Since the mid to late 1990’s, object-oriented software design patterns have proven to be a powerful tool in support of software design and product management. However, the usefulness of the methodology need not be restricted to the technical domain alone. In fact, the design pattern methodology represents a powerful tool that can also be used in support of it management at a business level. In this paper, we discuss the design pattern methodology, provide an example of how the methodology could be implemented to solve a business problem, the multivariate vector map (mvm), and then apply the mvm pattern to the problem of choosing an it outsourcing strategy as a means to demonstrate its effectiveness to it managers and to it outsourcing vendors
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What Are Design Patterns?

Over the last decade, Design Patterns have emerged at the forefront of object-oriented software engineering and have inspired dozens of books, conferences, online communities, and well-designed software solutions.

Although the conceptual origins of Design Patterns were being postulated in the early 1990s by several sources, it was the groundbreaking book, “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software” by Gamma, Helm, Johnson and Vlissides, affectionately known as the Gang of Four (GoF), which truly launched the Design Pattern paradigm into the popular consciousness. [FOWLER, 5]

The core thesis argued by the GoF explains that rather than solving every software engineering design problem from first principles, good designers reuse abstracted designs developed (and copied) throughout their careers. When software architects discover designs that work, they continue using those designs over and over again. In the words of the GoF,

“These patterns solve design problems and make object-oriented designs more flexible, elegant, and ultimately reusable….A designer who is familiar with such patterns can apply them immediately to design problems without having to rediscover them.…Once you know the pattern, a lot of design decisions follow automatically.” [GoF, 1]

Of course, the recognition of ‘good’ designs within software architecture was no epiphany. Any of the almost two dozen design patterns cataloged in the GoF’s revolutionary book were all designs that any senior, seasoned architect of the era would have intuitively recognized. The GoF’s truly novel contribution to the field was their definition of a paradigm with which to understand the process of recognizing, documenting, communicating and implementing Design Patterns. As they explain it,

“The purpose of [our] book is to record experience in designing object-oriented software as design patterns. Each design pattern systematically names, explains, and evaluates an important and recurring design. Our goal is to capture design experience in a form that people can use effectively.” [GoF, 1]

The benefits of using design patterns for object-oriented software engineering have proven to be numerous and significant.

For one, while the object-oriented paradigm addressed reusability at the algorithm and object level, Design Patterns make it easier to reuse successful designs at the architectural level. This result is faster development turnaround and more reliable code.

In addition, Design Patterns make more starkly visible the assumptions and consequences of design choices. This elevates the process of coding from fire-fighting to architecture, allowing developers to think more strategically about their designs. As noted by Shalloway and Trott, “developers are freed from the tyranny of dealing with details too early.” [S&T, 84]

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