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Communications of the ACM


Major-League SEMAT: Why Should an Executive Care?

Major-League SEMAT, illustrative photo

Credit: Hugo Felix; Iwona Usakiewicz / Andrij Borys Associates

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In today's ever more competitive world, boards of directors and executives demand that CIOs and their teams deliver "more with less." Studies show, without any real surprise, that there is no one-size-fits-all method to suit all software initiatives, and that a practice-based approach with some light but effective degree of order and governance is the goal of most software-development departments.

Software Engineering Method and Theory (SEMAT) is a collaborative initiative whose mission is to provide software engineering with a foundation, based on a kernel of practice-independent elements, supported by a language that allows best practices to be described in as light or as detailed a way as needed. These can then be selected by teams for the context of their endeavor, thus ensuring the organization neither falls into a practice free-for-all nor constrains its business into a process straitjacket.


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