Welcome to our new corporate signatory TCS

October 1, 2015 in News

The SEMAT community is happy to welcome “Tata Consulting Services” from India as a new corporate signatory!

Agile Essentials – seven ‘essentialized’ practices now published

July 22, 2015 in News

Ivar Jacobson International has released a starter pack of agile practice cards that aid team-based software development by ensuring that core agile team practices are transparent and effective. Each practice contains a small number of cards that provide useful, structured advice on how to apply the practice.

In many organizations, arguments rage between software development “experts” and teams on which process framework is best – e.g. Extreme Programming (XP) versus Scrum versus Kanban. Even though agile principles are clear that “no one should tell the team how to do their work”, in practice they are often told “Do Scrum” or “No, don’t do Scrum, do Kanban!”. The Agile Essentials eliminates these damaging and distracting conflicts by extracting the useful practice guidance from XP, Scrum, Kanban and other popular agile approaches, and presents it as a useful and usable set of practice cards that development teams can freely select, combine and adapt to help them work effectively as a team.

The cards can help teams by:

  • Ensuring a team’s way-of-working is clear and transparent to the team and their stakeholders
  • Ensuring all the key bases are covered – reducing the risk of nasty late surprises
  • Reducing time spent on debating or explaining the basics of agile practices
  • Enabling continuity and sustained capability improvement even as people join and leave the organization.

These cards are unique as they were built using the OMG approved SEMAT standard: Essence. Essence 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.”

The seven practices included in the deck of poker-sized playing cards cover key aspects of agile team development including:

  • Product Ownership Essentials – own, evolve and communicate the product vision and guide the evolution of the product to achieve the vision
  • Product Backlog Essentials – capture what the users of a software system want it to do as a priority-ranked list of independently buildable items
  • Agile Teaming Essentials – a self-organizing team maximizes its performance by using a highly collaborative teaming approach
  • Daily Stand-up Essentials – use a short, daily, whole-team meeting to reaffirm delivery focus, assess progress, agree work plans and action the removal of impediments to progress
  • Agile Development Essentials – add value to a product by incrementally extending it while ensuring it remains usable, releasable and maintainable
  • Agile Retrospective Essentials – make incremental improvements to the way of working through regularly repeated retrospectives
  • Agile Timeboxing Essentials – progress the work as a series of focused timeboxes, and assess and re-plan the work at the end of each timebox.

More information, including a video showing how to use the cards can be found at http://www.ivarjacobson.com/agile_essentials/

Essence in Practice – a Revolution in Software Engineering?

March 26, 2015 in News

This Conference is based on the OMG Essence standard proposed by the Software Engineering Method and Theory (SEMAT) community.

Target Audience
Executives, managers, developers and agile change agents responsible for empowering software teams of different kinds to become better, faster, cheaper and happier

Essence of Software development in a deck of cards
Conference Time
Thursday June 18, 2015
9:00am – 5:00 pm
Conference Venue
Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin, Germany



Essence in Practice
– a Revolution in Software Engineering?

Find the program here

When we formed the SEMAT (Software Engineering Method and Theory) community in 2009 we agreed to refound software engineering to resolve the many problems our industry was facing. We knew it was a long journey ahead of us. The first step on the journey was to create a missing foundation (a kernel) for the work we are doing. The initiative has got thousands of supporters around the world from virtually all camps in our field: in the industry we address the developers as well as the executives, in the academic world, teachers as well as researchers are involved. Such an initiative has never before seen the light of day: we all work to refound or revolutionize our field and to make us better, faster, cheaper and to make our customers happier.

The first step has reached its objectives: a new Essence standard adopted by OMG a year ago. Essence provides an innovative and novel user experience based on cards and game boards that are used to assess the progress and health of software development. Through gamification with cards and boards developers can enact various development games, such as planning sprints/iterations, agreeing on lifecycle models, evaluating health and progress of a project.

Essence is a super-light foundation of software engineering including elements we always have, always produce and always do. Its application allows team to work in a super agile way and it turns software development to become more of an engineering discipline than just a craft. On top of Essence organizations are now developing practices, which can be composed to form entire methodologies both for small agile teams but also for large organizations wanting to scale agile. This conference seeks to show you what many organizations have done when adopting the SEMAT approach. Speakers from companies such as MunichRe, Fujitsu, RedHat will present their experiences in using Essence. Work on new tools to create practices, build practice libraries and use practices in real life will be presented. Talks will be given on how well-known practices such as Scrum, User Stories, and Release Trains will be powered with Essence. We will show how Essence in fact is on a journey to revolutionize software engineering. And, why you should care and join that journey.

Richard Soley, the chairman of OMG and a founder of SEMAT will give a keynote on Industrial Internet and Essence, and the conference will conclude with a keynote by another founder of SEMAT Ivar Jacobson on the future of software engineering, a future in which SEMAT has played a significant role both for the industry and the academic world.




Three case studies on ESSENCE

December 15, 2014 in News

During the last weeks, several case studies on using ESSENCE got published:

1. One of the worlds largest reinsurers, Munich Re, has applied the Essence kernel with great results: http://www.omg.org/news/whitepapers/Munich_Re_Essence_Case_Study-2014-12-01_JP.pdf.
2. Worldwide agile at scale adoption with 1200 people achieved within nine months based on the Essence standard. http://www.ivarjacobson.com/uploadedFiles/Pages/Knowledge_Centre/Resources/Case_Studies/Resources/AsianTelecomm1.pdf. This case study involved developing a large number of practices around the Essence kernel, practices for scaling agile.
3. Development Team at Global Internet Services Company Learns and Applies Essence. Team very engaged and interactive: http://www.ivarjacobson.com/uploadedFiles/Pages/Knowledge_Centre/Resources/Case_Studies/Resources/Essence_globaltech1..pdf.

Google Switzerland Explored Essence

December 4, 2014 in News

One of the first and most prominent outputs from the SEMAT 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 a 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 Oct 22 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 I thought the team wasn’t aware of or vice-versa.”

SEMAT – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

December 2, 2014 in News

A new paper by Ivar Jacobson, Barry Myburgh, Pontus Johnson, Paul McMahon and June Park has been published: SEMAT-Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

GTSE 2015 4th SEMAT Workshop on a General Theory of Software Engineering @ ICSE 2015

November 28, 2014 in News

Please note: our proposal to have the next GTSE Workshop as an ICSE workshop hast been accepted. Please visit the CFP here. Submit a paper!

Google Tech Talk on ESSENCE

July 31, 2014 in News

A presentation on ESSENCE given by Ivar Jacobson and Ian Spence at Google in Zurich is now available as Google Tech Talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNlERrVxYjs&list=UUtXKDgv1AVoG88PLl8nGXmw. The talk has three parts: 1) Welcome to the State Club (by Ivar Jacobson), 2) Welcome to the world of Practices (by Ian Spence), 3) Q&A.

The presentation slides are also availabe from IJI at http://www.ivarjacobson.com/uploadedFiles/Pages/Knowledge_Centre/Resources/Presentations/Resources/SEMAT presentation at Google.pdf

ESSENCE book now available in Spanish

July 31, 2014 in News

Thanks to the great work of the Latin American Chapter of SEMAT, the ESSENCE book is now available in Spanish. The Argentinian publisher Nueva Libreria is announcing the release of the book to book stores, distributors, and institutions.

Next August, the book will be distributed to the attendants to the Latin American Software Engineering Symposium LASES 2014. Ivar Jacobson will make the announce in his virtual conference during the event, and Paul McMahon will be signing books as a part of the activities of the event.

OMG Board of Directors Announces adoption of Essence Standard as official OMG standard

June 20, 2014 in News

On June 16, 2014 the Object Management Group (OMG) announced that its Board of Directors adopted “Essence Kernel and Language for Software Engineering Methods” as an official OMG standard.


“We’re very excited that Essence has been adopted as an official OMG standard,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Chairman and CEO of OMG. “By providing a common set of core concepts and language, Essence allows practitioners to flexibly construct and adapt software engineering methods. A very large ‘thank you’ to our members in the Essence 1.0 Finalization Task Force for getting it through the OMG technology adoption process.”