Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Cynthia Dunlop, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Scott Bampton, Gilad Parann-Nissany

Related Topics: Java, XML, SOA & WOA, Websphere, Weblogic, .NET, AJAX & REA

Java: Book Review

Book Review: The Essence of Software Engineering

Applying the SEMAT Kernel

I have had the opportunity to lead dozens of software development projects which I love doing. I have also had the opportunity to watch dozens of software development project from the sidelines, while working on my own project, or in place as a consultant to accomplish something other than run the development process.

From the sidelines I have seen some succeed, some crash and burn, and the rest get close enough to success that the team can sell it as a success. Sometimes the later takes a heck of a sales job. I would say in my book 80% of those sold as successes failed. They either came in well over budget, well beyond their projected delivery date, or delivered such buggy software that the maintenance effort was as big as the development effort. Success to the team simply meant they considered the project over. You will find of those project teams run as fast as they can instead of doing a retrospective study.

The hard and sad part of watching the projects flop is that they are so predictable. A lot of times I find an environment has just come to terms with the fact that all the projects will come in late, over budget, and buggy. They have accepted reaching the end of the project as the only measure of success. You will usually find those environments are running in fire mode. Meaning the highest priorities for the day are the hottest fires and there are fires for everyone every day. They can't see it, but even there larger strategic projects are reacting to fires. They never get ahead, they just keep slowly slipping further behind.

So by now you are probably wondering what all that blather has to do with this book? To be able to recognize a project that is going off-track takes years of experience. The SEMAT Kernel provides a set of tools that enable those, that would normally not have enough experience to recognize when the project is going off-track, to be able to. The book is broken down into seven parts. I have listed each part below with the chapters they contain.

Part I: The Kernel Idea Explained
1. A Glimpse of How the Kernel Can Be Used
2. A Little More Detail about the Kernel
3. A 10,000-Foot View of the Full Kernel
4. The Kernel Alphas Made Tangible with Cards
5. Providing More Details to the Kernel through Practices
6. What the Kernel Can Do for You

Part II: Using the Kernel to Run an Iteration
7. Running Iterations with the Kernel: Plan-Do-Check-Adapt
8. Planning an Iteration
9. Doing and Checking the Iteration
10. Adapting the Way of Working
11. Running an Iteration with Explicit Requirement Item States

Part III: Using the Kernel to Run a Software Endeavor
12. Running a Software Endeavor: From Idea to Production
13. Building the Business Case
14. Developing the System
15. Operating the Software

Part IV: Scaling Development with the Kernel
16. What Does It Mean to Scale?
17. Zooming In to Provide Details
18. Reaching Out to Different Kinds of Development
19. Scaling Up to Large and Complex Development

Part V: How the Kernel Changes the Way You Work with Methods
20. Thinking about Methods without Thinking about Methods
21. Agile Working with Methods

Part VI: What’s Really New Here?
22. Refounding Methods
23. Separation of Concerns Applied to Methods
24. The Key Differentiators

Part VII: Epilogue
25. This Is Not the End
26. ... But Perhaps It Is the End of the Beginning
27. When the Vision Comes True

Appendixes
Appendix A. Concepts and Notation
Appendix B. What Does This Book Cover with Respect to the Kernel?

This book is not about defining or executing a new software development process, so don't expect to find how to create user stories, manage a product backlog, implement an instance of the RUP, or document your software architecture. This book is about the essential elements that are part of every software development process and how to recognize their current state in order to understand where you are in the process of your choice. It also walks you through the process of assembling a method from activities you have selected to use.

The kernel is broken down into three areas of concern which include Customer, Solution, and Endeavor. Each area of concern encapsulates alphas (things that progress and evolve) and activities.

Alphas include Opportunity, Stakeholders, Requirements, Software System, Team, Work, and Way of Working. Each of these have six different states attached to them which reflect their maturity.

The book defines activity spaces as explore possibilities, understand stakeholder needs, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, use the system, understand the requirements, shape the system, implement the system, test the system, deploy the system, operate the system, prepare to do the work, coordinate activity, support the team, track progress, and stop the work.

The next step the book takes is to assemble the alphas and activities into practices. An example of a practice would be a requirements elicitation practice. The practices are then used to build methods.

One really nice thing this book does is provide a common vocabulary that can be use across processes. Meaning that no matter what process you are using the kernel's alphas and activities apply. This will make it easier to see the different processes for what they really are at their core and make them easier to understand.

One thing I would have like to see different with this book is the alphas full checklist be used instead of the short-form, or at least have the long form list included in an appendix. You can get the full checklist from the Essence – Kernel and Language for Software Engineering Methods which is on the SEMAT web site. This does not take anything away from the book, it is just a pet peeve of mine. I don't like when a book provides less detail than the free specifications available on line.

I have found some books that are just summaries of the online work and you end up being pointed to that work in every chapter. That is not the case with this book, there is a lot of information in this book you won't find in the specs on line. The format and writing style of the book also makes reading the book much more pleasurable than reading the Essence – Kernel and Language for Software Engineering Methods OMG submission.

Overall I found this book to be a breath of fresh air. It is hard to find any pure software engineering process books anymore. They all tend to be a rehash of all the latest agile processes out there, which are all just reworks of all the iterative processes out there. The book and its material is very usable. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any role in the software development field.

The Essence of Software Engineering: Applying the SEMAT Kernel

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.