I wrote a post, The Power of Patterns and Practices, on Sources of Insight to summarize some of the benefits of using patterns and practices as a way to organize and share knowledge. For simplicity, I think of patterns as a way to share problem and solution pairs in context. I think of practices as a way to share methods or techniques. When you combine them, you effectively have an efficient way to share strategies and approaches for success in a given domain.
While sharing patterns and practices has been effective in software, I think other industries can gain from finding ways to more effectively share patterns and practices. Christopher Alexander, father of the pattern language movement, set a great example by creating a catalog of patterns for towns, buildings, and construction in the architecture space. Along those lines, Michael Michalko, a former Disney imagineer, put together an amazing catalog of patterns and practices for creative thinking, in his book, THINKERTOYS. The meta-point is that when you frame and name things, you simplify sharing knowledge in a meaningful and scalable way.