Before getting into discussions about SEMAT I need to talk about a related topic I think will clarify my point of view on the initiative.
In Nov 1990 Mary Shaw published in IEEE Software a great, very influential paper titled “Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Software”. In November 2009 she published an update of her view on the subject titled “Continuing Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Software”. This short article is also very interesting and I would like to extract a paragraph from it.
Talking about CMM, Shaw says: “Software has engineering challenges aplenty, and mislabeling management and process issues as “engineering” diverts attention from the equally important technical issues of creating a systematic, scientific basis for an engineering discipline. Our prospects would be better if we’d recognize the former as “software management” allowing the latter to fully occupy the mindspace of “software engineering.” No other engineering discipline suffers this confusion. As for our field’s maturity, whenever someone says, “We don’t need technical advances; we need a better process,” that’s a sign that production skills haven’t yet brought us to a fully mature commercial practice.”