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24 Questions: SEMAT & Essence

The Why's, What's and How's to See the Difference

24 Questions: SEMAT and Essence

Written by Dr. Ivar Jacobson, Paul E. McMahon and Roland Racko

Over the years, collective experience of the authors has revealed many questions on the SEMAT and Essence initiative. To bring clarity of the initiative to our readers, the authors have answered 24 of the most common questions.

When you understand these questions and answers, you will better understand the impact and utility of Essence. The questions and answers will give you a fresh perspective on all software development methodologies, whether they are traditional or Agile such as Scrum, Kanban, SAFe, DAD − a perspective useful for the whole software development community − industry (developers and executives) and academics (teachers and researchers). In what follows Roland asks the 24 questions and Paul and Ivar provide the answers. The author’s goal is to help you understand how SEMAT and Essence can:

  • Guide developers in achieving measurable results and to reuse their expertise in a systematic way.
  • Help executives to lead programs and projects in a balanced way without applying more governance than necessary and to develop organizations, which routinely learn from that experience.
  • Allow teachers to teach software engineering in a more logical and systematic way.
  • Enable researchers to use Essence as a definition of the problem they want to understand and assist their efforts to develop a General Theory of Software Engineering.

The authors have organized the interview results into these sections:

  1. The common grounds of Essence
  2. Essence kernel
  3. Advantages of Checklists
  4. On being a standard
  5. SEMAT vs SWEBOK
  6. Essence kernel supporting existing practices
  7. Betterment of existing methods powered by Essence
  8. Theory
  9. Myth and Reality