Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Gary Kaiser, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, RealWire News Distribution, Roger Strukhoff

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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review 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. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
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 active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold 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. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet 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. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.