Software Engineering Method and Theory (SEMAT) is an industry community committed to improving software engineering practices, by redefining and re-shaping software engineering as a rigorous discipline. It was founded in 2009 by Ivar Jacobson, Bertrand Meyer and Richard Soley.
One of the first and most prominent outputs from the semat.org community is Essence – a standard that defines the smallest set of concepts that are common to all software projects, aiming to help teams assess the health of their software endeavor and to improve their way of working. Ivar Jabcobson introduced this work at at
tech talk at Google Switzerland in July 2014.
In order to explore Essence in a practical setting, a 2-day workshop was hosted at Google Switzerland on October 22, 2014, by Martin Landers, an engineering manager for YouTube. He and his team of five engineers took a look at Essence and its "serious games". Martin Landers felt that
"Playing progress poker, reviewing health indicators and defining checkpoints triggered some good conversations in the team and helped crystallize some risks that he thought the team wasn't aware of and vice-versa." (
The Essence Kernel manifests itself in practical tools & assets such as Alpha State Cards, and enables the seamless blending of practices to create highly flexible ways of working for software teams. Contact us to learn how you can apply the Essence Kernel with your team.
We have been using these concepts for many years with our customers, to create innovative and pragmatic solutions to software development challenges. Explore some of these solutions in our "Lean|Agile Tool Bag" below.