Why I signed up for SEMAT

I’ve recently become a signatory to SEMAT (Software Engineering Method and Theory).  They’ve been trying to get me to sign up for some time but I resisted so far.  Why did I change my mind?

Originally, SEMAT was branded as “a revolution in software engineering”.  I didn’t like that: I’m old enough to have seen plenty of “revolutions” come and go.  I did not want to go down the revolution road again.  I decided to wait and see.

Now SEMAT has had its first workshop and seems to have made a good start.  The revolutionary language has vanished.  People that I greatly respect are involved.   SEMAT now starts to look like an opportunity to make a difference.

Here is a quote from the workshop report that I really like, attributed to the late Robin Milner:  "Language is the raw material of software engineering, rather as water is the raw material for hydraulic engineering".

This week, Ivar asked me again: so this time I joined. Let’s see where it leads.

Comments (2)

  1. Alistair Cockburn says:

    Hi, Steve, no time no talk.

    I /was/ signed up for the SEMAT initiative; I went to the Zurich meeting; on the basis of that I quit.

    My feeling is that it is currently all spin, no content, no direction, no structure.

    It also bothers me that the initiative is currently all PR & hype, with no hint of troubles.

    The key thrust of the initiative at this time is formal specification of software development processes (read closely the report of the first meeting to see this). To me this is a dead end; between this direction, the slow speed of movement and the absence of real discussoin, I decided to withdraw.

    I think the direction of formal specification of processes may suit you better than it does me – Let me / us know how it works for you.



  2. Hi Alistair – yes it’s been a few years now!   I am sceptical, for sure – as with most things.  Ultimately the test should be whether it offers tangible value to practitioners.  I’m willing to see if that happens.


    — Steve

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