SEI Releases Software Engineering Measurement and Analysis Course Materials
October 28, 2020 • Article
October 28, 2020—The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) recently released the materials from its Software Engineering Measurement and Analysis (SEMA) courses under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Anyone can download the course materials for free from the SEI website.
The SEMA courses teach software-intensive organizations the techniques to measure and analyze their own performance and processes. With these tools, organizations can control projects, improve processes, evaluate new technologies, and track organizational performance.
The SEMA Initiative at the SEI started in 1995. In the mid-2000s, it developed three courses for project and program managers, chief information officers, chief technical officers, and others responsible for process and product improvement.
- Designing Products and Processes Using Six Sigma (DPPSS): a toolkit of data analysis methods leveraging industry best practices, such as Six Sigma and Goal-Driven Software Measurement, and real-life case studies and project data
- Improving Process Performance Using Six Sigma (IPPSS): how to identify the root causes of business and product problems to develop preventative solutions, as well as balancing project and process performance, quality, schedule, and cost
- Implementing Goal-Driven Measurement (IGDM): how to use the Goal-Question-Indicator Measure (GQIM) method of identifying and defining meaningful indicators aligning management, engineering, and improvement with business goals
The SEI taught these five-day, hands-on SEMA courses, and licensed others to teach them, until 2019. In all, 19 organizations from around the globe licensed all three courses.
The IGDM course focused on measuring organizational performance to produce actionable information. “Data that’s just lying around is like potential energy. It’s there, but it’s not doing anything,” said David Zubrow, the SEMA Initiative lead at the SEI. “One of our goals with the course was to help organizations make their data kinetic, to have it drive action and decision making.”
The DPPSS and IPPSS courses teach Six Sigma concepts for the analysis of measurement data, to improve both products and the processes used to create them. Robert Stoddard, an SEI principal researcher, designed and taught the three SEMA courses. He said their Six Sigma offerings specialized in teaching students how to use tools, such as Minitab. “When you’re teaching busy practitioners these new methods, teach them practical methods with practical tools, and let their curiosity over time acquire the theory they need,” he said. “We spent a lot more time in class talking about solving problems with the right tools than we did memorizing formulas.”
The SEI retired the licensing program in 2019 and this fall transitioned the courses to allow the community to continue to use and evolve the courseware, which includes presentation decks and real-life sample data sets for statistical analysis software. Under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, anyone may freely share and adapt the materials, including for commercial use, as long as they provide appropriate credit to the SEI, provide a link to the license, and indicate any changes made.
To use the course materials as the basis for new training, Stoddard recommends that organizations review the course material design, workplace problems, and concept storylines, and then have an instructional designer add new screen captures of updated tools.
Download the SEMA course materials from the SEI Digital Library at https://resources.sei.cmu.edu/library/asset-view.cfm?assetID=646832.