This paper presents an empirical evaluation of the team reflection support provided by the Software Engineering Method and Theory (SEMAT) Essence framework, and compares Essence reflection meetings to other types of team reflection meetings. The researchers conducted a field study involving seven graduate master student teams running Essence reflection meetings throughout their practicum projects aiming at delivering a working product for an industry client. The main result validates that Essence meetings generate reflective team discussions through a thinking framework that is holistic, state-based, goal- driven, and method-agnostic. Student teams benefit from stepping back and assessing the project holistically throughout its lifecycle. The goals set by the framework’s checklists lead the teams to address critical aspects of the project that have not been considered. All team members are encouraged to express their views and influence the various project dimensions. Essence reflection meetings are comparable and complementary to Agile retrospectives, and project teams might want to leverage both techniques. The value added by Essence reflections is to surface unknown issues, help monitor progress, steer the project to a higher state, and prevent retrospectives from being repetitive by varying styles.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/cecile_peraire/31/