Global Design Management Report 2009

I. Abstract

Global IC design teams today work around the clock to meet tight deadlines with limited resources. The adoption of IC Design Management systems that guarantee the most up-to-date design content is available to all design team members on-demand continues to grow.

This report covers the results of a worldwide Global Design Management survey that was executed during March 2009 and the implications of those findings. The topics covered are:

  1. Design Management Implementation Plans for 2009
  2. Designers’ Time Spent on Design Management Issues
  3. Design Management Issues Impact on Project Deadlines and Tapeouts
  4. Primary Justifications for Implementing a Design Management System
  5. Major Obstacles to Deploying a Design Management System
  6. Potential ROI impact of findings

II. Survey Methodology and Demographics

A blind, anonymous survey was emailed to several thousand participants by an outside research consultancy. 416 IC design professionals completed the survey online. Survey respondents were comprised of:

Digital designers CAD managers

Full custom designers Verification engineers

Software/Firmware developers Project Managers

Engineering Managers FPGA designers

The 416 respondents included significant representation across the major geographic regions of the semiconductor industry.


III. Plans to Implement Design Management in 2009

Design management systems are becoming part of the mainstream design process, with the majority of design organizations (53%) indicating they already have Design Management systems deployed (41%) or intend to implement a Design Management system this year (12%). These results point to a 29% growth in Design Management system deployment in 2009.


IV. Designers’ Time Spent on Design Management Issues

Design Management issues create additional overhead on design teams: Designers spend an average of 12% of their time on design data management issues such as tracking down IC-related design files or a specific configuration of files. Thus a Design Management system has the potential both to allow organizations to implement design projects with fewer resources and to pull in delivery timetables.


V. Design Management Issues Impact on Project Deadlines and Tapeouts

Design management errors impact on design delivery, with 42% of CAD Managers stating that their organizations had missed a project deadline or delayed a tapeout due to design management issues such as version control or configuration management. Per a follow-up questionnaire, the average length of the delay was estimated to be three work weeks.

VI. Primary Reasons for Deploying a Design Management System

The primary reason given for using a Design Management system was the ability of the system to ease and accelerate the process of tracking and fix bugs. Additionally, the increasing design complexity and the distribution of work among designers and geography location make it vital for organizations to enable efficient team collaboration. The third primary reason was easier access to working configurations.

Other significant reasons mentioned were improved designer efficiency, better product quality, reduced overall project time, and better IP reuse.


VII. Obstacles to Deploying a Design Management System

CAD managers and the overall respondents cited that the top 2 obstacles to using a Design Management system were that the IC Design Management tools were not well integrated and the Design Management process was difficult to deploy. CAD managers cited the difficulty in deploying Design Management as their top concern, and also rated lack of tool integration as an issue.

Easing the set up time and providing a Design Management system that is an intuitive and transparent part of the designer’s existing methodology can address concerns of tool integration and ease of deployment would enable broader proliferation of hardware Design Management.



VIII. Summary – ROI Impact

Deployment of hardware Design Management systems can be expected to grow by 29% this year, resulting in adoption level by a majority of IC design organizations by the end of 2009.

The financial impact resulting from design management issues is:

  • For a 50 person engineering team with a cost of $10M/year, the 12% additional overhead to designer’s time equates to $1.2M annually.
  • With regards to the design and tapeout delays for 42% of design organizations, the average estimated project delay of three work weeks would increase costs by $600K for a 50 person engineering team. If a complete re-spin is involved, it could conservatively add another $0.5M in costs.
  • For a new product expected to generate $50M in revenue, depending on the length of the product lifecycle, a product delay of three work weeks could easily reduce planned product revenue by over $1M.

On average, a design management system costs roughly $2K per engineer/year, or $100K/year for the same 50 person engineering team. Thus organizations can expect an immediate return on investment from deploying a Design Management system – many times over.

In addition to reducing or eliminating version and configuration errors, other primary functions of an IC Design Management system are to: reduce the time it takes to find, track and fix development bugs; increase design team collaboration; improve designer efficiency; raise product quality, and improve IP reuse. To be valuable to design organizations, these systems must focus on easy of deployment, minimal set up time, and integration in the EDA tool flow.