Software engineering isn’t really engineering. We all know that. SEMAT (Software Engineering Method and Theory) is an initiative that proposes to address that.

Here is the SEMAT call for action, which can be found on their website here.

Call for Action

Software engineering is gravely hampered today by immature practices. Specific problems include:

  • The prevalence of fads more typical of fashion industry than of an engineering discipline.
  • The lack of a sound, widely accepted theoretical basis.
  • The huge number of methods and method variants, with differences little understood and artificially magnified.
  • The lack of credible experimental evaluation and validation.
  • The split between industry practice and academic research.

We support a process to refound software engineering based on a solid theory, proven principles and best practices that:

  • Include a kernel of widely-agreed elements, extensible for specific uses
  • Addresses both technology and people issues
  • Are supported by industry, academia, researchers and users
  • Support extension in the face of changing requirements and technology

The organization is just getting started (in organizational terms at least), and time will tell if it produces anything of value. Alistair Cockburn has posted a sharply critical piece based on his participation here. But at least they’re asking the right questions.