Let us say a few words about the intended audience for this book. What kind of organization can use these patterns? Who should be responsible for applying the patterns in these organizations?

These patterns come from studies of a wide range of organizations, most of which are software development organizations. These organizations ranged from small individual companies of a couple dozen people to organizations embedded in companies with hundreds of thousands of employees. We have turned around and used these patterns in improvement efforts in a similar range of organizations. While a few of the patterns may be particularly suitable to teams of a particular size, almost all of them are generic.

While the patterns often exhibit ties to software development, they apply far beyond software developers. Project managers, testers, marketing people, secretaries and clerks, business planners, and a host of other roles figure as strongly or more strongly than the designer and coder in software development. There is something in this book for every member of a software enterprise. And many of the patterns generalize into other businesses if applied with insight and taste.

Many of the patterns require some authority to implement, so first or second level managers would be a natural audience for this book. But the funny thing is that we predict that many of the people who read this book will not be managers, but developers. So we think there is a good chance that you, dear reader, are a developer. But not just any developer. You probably feel an extra concern for the function of your organization. In fact, you are probably a key person; one of the roles we mentioned above: GateKeeper, PatronRole, PublicCharacter, LegendRole, or WiseFool. You may have more influence than you think you do.

So what is a GateKeeper or a WiseFool? We've talked enough about the patterns; it's now time to read the patterns themselves.