Date of Original Version

Fall 2013


Technical Report

Abstract or Description

At Carnegie Mellon University in Silicon Valley, the graduate master program ends with a practicum project during which students serve as software engineering consultants for an industry client. In this context, students are challenged to demonstrate their ability to work on self-managing and self-organizing teams. This paper presents a field study of the Software Engineering Method and Theory (SEMAT) Essence framework. The objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Essence’s novel state-based monitoring and goal-driven steering approach. The researchers conducted the study on seven graduate master student teams applying the approach throughout their practicum projects. The research methodology involves weekly observation and recording of each team’s state progression and collecting students’ reflection on the application of the approach. The main result validates that the approach provides student teams with a holistic, lightweight, non-prescriptive and method-agnostic way to monitor progress and steer projects, as well as an effective structure for retrospective and risk management. The monitoring and steering mechanisms are most effective during project initiation. The benefit decreases later in the project lifecycle. The conclusion is that the approach adds value to the whole learning and teaching experience and hence could be leveraged in software engineering education.


Similar version submitted to ICSE’14, May 31– June 7, 2014, Hyderabad, India.


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