What is Essence?

Essence is one of the first and most prominent outputs from the SEMAT community – a standard for working with methods in software engineering adopted by OMG in June 2014. [1]

It is a common ground, a kernel or a foundation for software engineering.  This foundation will 1) enable teams to understand and visualize the progress and health of their endeavors regardless of their way of working, and 2) allow teams to easily share, adapt, and “plug and play” their practices to create the innovative ways of working that they need to excel and continuously improve. Essence provides a foundation that allows teams to share and free their practices from the shackles of big process. [2]

In the same way that a GPS system shows you where you are, where you want to go, and the best way to get there when making a journey, Essence can do the same for teams of engineers developing software.

Who is the audience for Essence?

It is for the whole software development community – both for the industry (developers and executives) and for the academics (teachers and researchers).

  1. It guides developers in achieving measurable results and to reuse their knowledge in a systematic way.

  2. It helps executives to lead programs and projects in a balanced way without more governance than necessary and to develop learning organizations.

  3. It allows teachers to teach software engineering in a logical and systematic way.

  4. Researchers can use Essence as a definition of the problem they want to understand and explore in their efforts to develop a General Theory of Software Engineering.

Such an initiative, addressing the entire software community, has never been in place before.


[1] Object Management Group, Essence - Kernel And Language For Software Engineering Methods (Essence), November 2014. (http://www.omg.org/spec/Essence/)

[2] Ivar Jacobson, Pan-Wei Ng, Paul E. McMahon, Ian Spence and Svante Lidman, “The Essence of Software Engineering: The SEMAT Kernel,” Communications of the ACM, Volume 55, Issue 12, December 2012. Pages 42-49   (http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2389616).