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The Patterns: Four Social Cultural Theories. Architecture based on social cultural theories.
Four Social Cultural Theories
Building Architecture
The story of building architecture and the 4 cultural theories (natural, classical, modern and postmodern) provides a pattern of the cultural phenomenon we find in other architecture intensive disciplines, activities and pre-occupations.  
Architecture Intensive Disciplines
What has taken place over centuries in building architecture and civilisation represents a pattern that can occur in months of software or systems development. Development begins and follows a natural organic growth. A period of learning, improving and experimentation. To some it may seem chaotic. Intervention takes place whereby methodologies are applied to standardise the approach. Overtime a more formalised or structured approach is seen as a constraint. A wider set of perspectives are introduced with openness and tolerance. This can lead to a return to natural methods and organic processes and a new cycle begins.  
Case Study A: Large Corporate IT
In the 2 years of various project iterations, a strong adherence to the above pattern can be observed - with the exception that pluralism can lead to more standardisation rather than a return to more natural processes. From organic growth, seeming chaos, standardisation and pluralism - the development life cycle followed a similar pattern. In the inception phase the team was small and followed a natural approach. The Unified Modeling Language and a Rational Unified Process like approach was taken. Construction was preceeded by a UML based construction plan. As standards were being put into place, a methodology was adopted called Software Architecture and Software Engineering (SASE) borrowing ideas from RUP and the SSDM. For some the standards were a constraint and gradually we began to adhere to more of a pluralist approach rather than a singular and rigid methodology. Mentoring and workshops were introduced to facilitate knowledge sharing with a positive response from the majority of the developers.

What was also evident in the case study of a large organisation is that software development projects are not necessarily in the hands or control of the technical team as is often assumed. Managers, users, project sponsors, project managers can determine the course and direction of phases and outcomes. In many ways, it illustrates the social nature of software development as a whole and the nature of software architecture. One aspect of this case study that was clear is that architects need to respond to change and should not be entrenched in a particular "style". Working with a variety of styles - business visions, champions, experts, project management, teams and individuals - there is a need to be observe the pattern of social change.  
Case Study B: Small Commercial Team
When this pattern was discussed with the team, there was keen interest shown by some of the members. The product however had been developed by various teams and individuals so it was difficult to guage the processes. But from what could be observed from the software and source code, it was clear that different phases of standardisation, organic and unstructured development had taken place. There were some parts of the code that showed good structure and other parts which were more prone to faults or errors.  
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