When communication-based approaches are applied to understanding organisations, in the presence or absence of information technology, we study how communication resources are used to enact and negotiate workpractices. From the perspective of communication-based approaches, systems development activities involve the reorganisation or reclassification of communication resources from those employed when users engage with workpractices to those that are needed in order to support the development of machine executable representations. If a semiotic theory of communication is applied to usage and development then these are considered as meaning-making activities. Both the user’s and developer’s workpractices are considered as semiotic systems. Communication based approaches usually construe workpractices and their executable representations from an exclusively syntagmatic perspective, capturing the ordering and combination of elements that form structures like workpractices or their machine executable representations. However, applying a semiotic theory of communication like Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) obligates us to consider semiotic systems from their complementary paradigmatic perspective. For developers, this perspective involves understanding the kinds of choices they could have made during the development or modification of workpractices. When a paradigmatic perspective was applied to the genre-based workpractice approaches in SFL, it revealed several new development options. This paper describes the paradigmatic view of genre analysis and design and suggests undertaking similar studies of other communication-based approaches and of IS developer workpractices more generally.