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The Essence of Software Engineering: Applying the SEMAT Kernel

Book Review Team
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Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 932
Author/s    : Ivar Jacobson, Pan-Wei Ng, Paul E. McMahon, Ian Spence, Svante Lidman
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Project Management, Process and Best Practices
Review by : Jeanne Boyarsky
Rating        : 10 horseshoes

"The Essence of Software Engineering - Applying the SEMAT Kernel" looks to be a classic one day. Not today of course because it just came out. But one day.

SEMAT stands for Software Engineering Methods and Theory. Don't let the word "theory" scare you. It's not a book about theory. It's a way of looking at software. All projects have some things in common. Using a common language to describe them and looking at key concepts (alphas) makes for better software. The book is geared to software professionals and students. With a goal of making for better developers. And SEMAT isn't done. They are incremental releasing supporting products through 2014.

I liked the parts about practices more than the kernel - I think because it was more concrete. The kernel does raise key points though. Some of which we take for granted and some of which we forget about.

The cards and checklists are useful. Did I mention the cards? They are quite prevalent in the book. I wish it said where to buy them.

I particularly liked the chapter on scaling. It didn't just cover scaling volume. It also covered zooming in and reaching out to others.

It will be interesting to see if SEMAT catches on. But even it doesn't, the key points still matter and it is worth the read.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 932
Review by : Vijitha Kumara
Rating        : 9 horseshoes

This Book particularly is about the software engineering process standard (and theoretical aspects behind it) called SEMAT (Software Engineering Method and Theory) initiated a few years ago.

The book as a whole explains the elements of the SEMAT kernel and how they fit in to the various stages of the software development life cycle. .

It begins with an introduction to the SEMAT kernel, taking a typical software development approach as an example (makes it easier for someone who's new to the concept to understand) to illustrate the concepts behind the SEMAT kernel. Good to see that the chapters are organized in to small number of pages and key elements are explained with various graphics/diagrams and proper descriptions.

Book describes some of the most important parts of the kernel; alphas, their states, checklists and the ability to extend the kernel to define/construct methods of your own. The book also describes even the minor characteristics that most teams do not worry about but critical to the success which are actually an important part of the SEMAT kernel itself. It also describes how the approach can be adapted from small scale to large scale development in later chapters.

What looks good about the SEMAT concept is that it lets the user create/customize their own process still being based on the SEMAT kernel.

As the SEMAT concept is still at early stages of its life, this will be an excellent introduction for both practitioners and academic studies as a guide to explore the principles of an emerging standard.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
 
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