There are a bunch of industry veteran trying to discern the universal truths of software development. They have formed the Software Engineering Method and Theory group. It is called SEMAT for short. Some industry luminaries like Ivan Jacobson, Bertrand Meyer, and Larry Constantine are involved.
This group wants to investigate the core theories and best practices in the development world. They state that this group is not about any specific product of standard. They are attempting to uncover the universal set of practices that occur in software development.
SEMAT has broken out six working groups. These include terminology, kernel language, universals, core theory, requirements, and assessment. The group reiterates that it is no looking to create a new development methodology. Instead they are defining software development patterns and practices.
There are some who have their doubts about this effort. Universities lag the industry in practice. It make take many years for the work of this group to bear fruit. This is a theoretical exercise. There may not be any impact to real world development. Something like this was tried before with the Agile Manifesto.