Software engineering is gravely hampered by immature practices. Specific problems include: The prevalence of fads more typical of the fashion industry than an engineering discipline; a huge number of methods and method variants, with differences little understood and artificially magnified; the lack of credible experimental evaluation and validation; and the split between industry practice and academic research.

At the root of the problems we lack a sound, widely accepted theoretical basis.  A prime example of such a basis is Maxwell’s equations in electrical engineering. It is difficult to fathom what electrical engineering would be today without those four concise equations. They are a great example to the statement “There is nothing so practical as a good theory”.  In software engineering we have nothing similar, and there is widespread doubt whether it is needed. This talk will argue for the need of a basic theory in software engineering, a theory identifying its pure essence, its common ground or its kernel.

The Semat (Software Engineering Methods and Theory) community addresses this huge challenge.  It supports a process to refound software engineering based on a kernel of widely-agreed elements, extensible for specific uses, addressing both technology and people issues. This kernel represents the essence of software engineering. 
 Reference: ASE 2012 Keynote, by Ivar Jacobson

“I find that I am most happy and healthy when I am living in alignment with my goals, dreams, and principles.” 
Steve Maraboli