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Design Patterns Q&A - Q5 - So, are there also bad practices to avoid?

πŸ”΄ Disclaimer: This post is enhanced with AI assistance.

The Newbie Wondered:

But wait, my Master! I now know that design patterns are the best practices to follow. So, are there also bad practices to avoid? Maybe antipatterns, if you like?

The Master Explained

Absolutely, newbie! You've got a keen eye. Just like in every adventure, there are paths to avoid. These are known as antipatterns – the cautionary tales of the coding world.

An anti-pattern in software engineering, project management, and business processes is a common response to a recurring problem that is usually ineffective and risks being highly counterproductive.

Thanks to for composing this beautiful poem for me.

In the realm of software's domain,

Where challenges and solutions intertwine,

A dance of creation, where ideas converge,

But lurking in the shadows, a foe does emerge.

Antipattern, a troublesome guise,

Repeating mistakes with no compromise,

In software's kitchen, where projects take shape,

Its presence can turn success into an escape.

Just like a baker with cake on the mind,

Design patterns are recipes, tried-and-refined,

They guide us with wisdom, a path to success,

But antipatterns... oh, they cause distress.

Imagine your cake, a masterpiece in sight,

With flavors and textures that bring pure delight,

But flip the script with an antipattern's sway,

And disaster looms, turning joy into dismay.

In project management's delicate domain,

Antipatterns lurk, ready to maim,

They mask as solutions with tempting allure,

Yet lead us astray, our progress unsure.

Business processes, too, fall under their spell,

A cycle of inefficiency they often propel,

Like a saboteur in the corporate sphere,

Antipatterns sow chaos and foster fear.

But fear not, dear innovators bold,

For awareness is key, as the story unfolds,

Learn from mistakes that have come before,

With knowledge in hand, success will restore.

So let us be vigilant in our quest for perfection,

Rejecting antipatterns with firm rejection,

For in the realm of software and business alike,

It's the patterns we follow that lead to our strike.
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An anti-pattern, according to the authors of Design Patterns (GoF), has two important qualities that distinguish it from a bad habit, bad practise, or terrible idea:

  1. An anti-pattern is a regularly utilised procedure, structure, or pattern of activity that, while first appearing to be a suitable and successful response to a problem, has more negative than positive outcomes.
  2. There is another solution to the problem that the anti-pattern is aiming to address. The remedy is well-documented, repeatable, and effective, whereas the anti-pattern is not.


Software Development Antipatterns

Here are a couple of popular antipatterns:

Big Ball of Mud

One classic antipattern is the "Big Ball of Mud." It's when your code becomes a tangled mess, like trying to untangle a bunch of Christmas lights. It's chaotic, hard to understand, and a nightmare to maintain.

Spaghetti Code

Another one to watch out for is the "Spaghetti Code." Just as it sounds, it's code that's so twisted and tangled, that trying to follow the logic is like navigating through a plate of spaghetti without a fork. It's a recipe for confusion.

Golden Hammer

And let's not forget the "Golden Hammer" antipattern. It's when you become so attached to one tool or technology that you try to use it for every problem, even when it's not the best fit. It's like trying to fix everything with a hammer when sometimes you need a screwdriver.


Software Architecture Antipatterns

Let's shine a light on these Software Architecture Antipatterns, cautionary tales in the world of software design.

Here are a couple of popular antipatterns:


Description: Imagine your codebase is a jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces are all mixed up. The Jumble antipattern is when your software architecture becomes a chaotic mess, lacking clear structure or organization. It's like trying to solve a puzzle with pieces scattered randomly instead of forming a coherent picture. This antipattern can lead to confusion, bugs, and headaches for developers trying to navigate the tangled web of code.

Jumble is like having a messy room where you can't find anything. Keeping things tidy is key to a well-functioning software architecture.

Swiss Army Knife:

Description: The Swiss Army Knife antipattern is akin to trying to do everything with a single tool. It's when your software architecture becomes overly complex and tries to handle a multitude of tasks, often unrelated. Just as a Swiss Army Knife is a versatile tool but not always the best for every job, this antipattern can result in bloated, hard-to-maintain systems that lack focus.

Swiss Army Knife architecture is like carrying every tool in your pocket – it might sound convenient, but when you need a specific tool, it's buried among the rest.

Reinvent the Wheel:

Description: Picture reinventing the wheel every time you need one. The Reinvent the Wheel antipattern occurs when developers create custom solutions for problems that already have proven, standardized solutions. It's like building a new wheel from scratch instead of using the perfectly functional one available. This antipattern can lead to wasted time, increased complexity, and missed opportunities to leverage existing tools.

Reinventing the wheel is like trying to build a car from raw materials every time you need transportation. Sometimes, it's more efficient to use what's already rolling smoothly.

In software architecture, steering clear of these antipatterns is crucial for maintaining clarity, simplicity, and efficiency. Learning from these cautionary examples helps architects and developers create architectures that are robust, maintainable, and well-suited to their intended purpose.

Analysis Paralysis

Project Management Antipatterns

Let's explore these Project Management Antipatterns, common pitfalls that can hinder the success of projects.

Here are a couple of popular antipatterns:

Analysis Paralysis:

Description: Analysis Paralysis is like being stuck in perpetual brainstorming without making progress. This antipattern occurs when a project team becomes overly focused on gathering and analyzing information, often at the expense of making decisions and moving forward. It's akin to standing at a crossroads, endlessly debating the best route without taking a step.

Analysis Paralysis is like studying the map for so long that you forget to start the journey. Sometimes, you need to take the first step to discover the path ahead.

Death by Planning:

Description: Imagine a project buried under a mountain of plans. Death by Planning occurs when a project team invests excessive time and effort in planning but struggles to execute the plan effectively. It's like meticulously drawing a map but losing sight of the destination. This antipattern emphasizes planning to the detriment of actual progress.

Death by Planning is like preparing for a trip by endlessly packing, but never actually leaving the driveway. Plans are essential, but execution is the key to reaching your destination.

Throw It over the Wall:

Description: Throw It over the Wall is a communication breakdown antipattern. It happens when different teams or departments work in isolation, tossing their deliverables to the next stage without collaborative involvement. It's like playing a game of telephone with critical project components, risking misunderstandings and inefficiencies.

Throw It over the Wall is like sending letters without checking if the recipient can read. Collaboration is key; otherwise, you might end up with messages lost in translation.

Avoiding these Project Management Antipatterns is crucial for fostering efficiency, communication, and successful project delivery. Recognizing the signs early can help project managers steer their teams towards a more productive and collaborative path.

Microservices Adoption Antipatterns

Microservices Adoption Antipatterns

Let's dive into these Microservices Adoption Antipatterns, common missteps that can hinder the successful adoption of microservices.

Here are a couple of popular antipatterns:

Microservices are a Magic Pixie Dust:

Description: This antipattern is akin to believing microservices alone will solve all problems magically. It occurs when organizations adopt microservices without understanding their underlying principles or without addressing existing issues. It's like expecting a single solution to transform your entire system without considering the necessary groundwork.

Treating microservices as a magic pixie dust is like expecting one tool to build an entire house. It's essential to understand the nuances and prerequisites for a successful microservices transition.

Microservices as the Goal:

Description: In this antipattern, microservices become the end rather than the means to an end. It happens when organizations adopt microservices without clear business goals or without evaluating if a microservices architecture is the right fit for their specific needs. It's like collecting tools without a project in mind – impressive, but lacking a purpose.

Treating microservices as the goal is like collecting paint without knowing what you're going to paint. It's crucial to align the adoption with clear business objectives.

Scattershot Adoption:

Description: Scattershot Adoption is when organizations adopt microservices haphazardly, without a strategic plan. It involves breaking down monoliths into microservices without considering the overall architecture. It's like rearranging pieces of a puzzle without understanding the bigger picture, leading to a fragmented and inefficient system.

Scattershot adoption is like rearranging furniture without considering the room's layout. Microservices need a thoughtful plan to ensure they work cohesively and deliver on their promises.

Avoiding these Microservices Adoption Antipatterns involves understanding that microservices are a tool, not a silver bullet, aligning their adoption with business goals, and approaching the transition strategically rather than impulsively. This way, organizations can harness the benefits of microservices effectively.

So yes, dear newbie, along with the best practices, be wary of these antipatterns. They're the caution signs on the coding highway, reminding you to steer clear of pitfalls and keep your codebase clean and maintainable.

πŸ‘‰ Newbie, remember, these antipatterns are just the tip of the iceberg. Many more exist. Stay vigilant!

Ready to learn from the mistakes of the past and forge ahead on your design journey?

Let's navigate the design seas together!

Action Plan

Action Plan

Information is necessary but not sufficient. It must be backed by purposeful actions.

Here's a 10-point action plan:

  1. Awareness is Key:

    • Understand that antipatterns exist and can impact projects. Awareness is the first step towards prevention.
  2. Continuous Learning:

    • Stay informed about emerging antipatterns. The tech landscape evolves, and new challenges may arise.
  3. Regular Code Reviews:

    • Establish a culture of regular code reviews. This helps catch and address antipatterns early in the development process.
  4. Knowledge Sharing:

    • Foster a culture of knowledge sharing within teams. Learning from each other's experiences can prevent recurring antipatterns.
  5. Architectural Design Sessions:

    • Conduct architectural design sessions before diving into development. Planning can help avoid common architectural antipatterns.
  6. Communication is Key:

    • Encourage open communication between teams. The "Throw It over the Wall" antipattern is mitigated with effective collaboration.
  7. Clear Business Objectives:

    • Ensure that microservices adoption aligns with clear business objectives. Microservices should be a means to achieve goals, not the goal itself.
  8. Strategic Microservices Adoption:

    • Approach microservices adoption strategically. Avoid a scattershot approach and plan the transition carefully.
  9. Evaluate Tools Purposefully:

    • Don't treat tools, including microservices, as magic solutions. Evaluate them purposefully and align them with specific needs.
  10. Iterative Improvement:

    • Embrace an iterative improvement mindset. Learn from mistakes, adapt, and continuously refine processes to prevent antipatterns.
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