Global Design Management Report 2010

Shiv Sikand, IC Manage

I. Global Design Data Management Report Abstract

This report is the second annual review of the findings of an independent worldwide Global Design Data Management survey. The survey was executed during April and May of 2010 and had 426 IC design professionals respond; we analyze the survey results and identify relevant year to year trends.

The Global Design Data Management report scope includes: general design data management driving forces; the impact on engineering overhead, project deadlines and ROI; adoption of commercial systems; and missing elements of open source revision control.

By analyzing this comprehensive feedback from IC design engineers and engineering management, we can better understand how hardware design data management systems are impacting semiconductor company management’s ability to guarantee that up-to-date design content is immediately available to all design team members. This becomes especially critical with globally dispersed teams working around the clock to meet tight deadlines.

The topics covered in this report are:

  1. Survey Methodology and Demographics
  2. Plans to Implement Commercial Design Management Systems in 2010
  3. Design Management Impact on Project Deadlines and Tapeouts
  4. Designers’ Time Spent on Design Data Management Issues
  5. Driving reasons to use a Design Data Management System
  6. Most Important Features in an IC Design Bug Tracking System
  7. Top Missing Design Functions from Open Source Revision Control
  8. Summary and ROI Impact, Updated for 2010 results

I. Survey Methodology and Demographics

A blind, anonymous survey was emailed to several thousand participants worldwide by an independent consultancy over the time period from April 22 to May 7, 2010. 426 IC design professionals completed the survey online. Survey respondents were comprised of a broad spectrum of designers and engineering management, with a majority (53%) in an engineering management role.


II. Plans to Implement Commercial Design Management Systems in 2010

Design management systems are becoming a central part of the mainstream design process. A total of 38% of design organizations indicate they either already have a commercial design data management system deployed (30%) or intend to implement one this year (8%).

These results point to a 27% growth in design management system deployment in 2010. The 2009 global design data management survey investigated both commercial and open source design management systems, so the total number of those who had already adopted design management was somewhat higher at 41%.


III. Design Data Management Impact on Project Deadlines and Tapeouts

Design data management errors are impacting design delivery, with 47% of Engineering, Project and CAD Managers stating that their organizations had missed a project deadline or delayed a tapeout due to design data management issues such as version control or configuration management. This is an increase over the 2009, where the 42% of CAD managers indicated design management issues had led to similar missed deadlines.

For those that experienced a delay in project deadline or tapeout due to design data management issues, the average length of delay cited was 14 workdays, or almost 3 workweeks.


IV. Designer Time Spent on Design Management Issues

Design Data Management issues can result in substantial additional overhead on design teams: Today’s designers spend an average of 14% of their time on design management issues such as tracking down IC related design files or a specific configuration of files, compared to 12% overhead in 2009. Thus a hardware design management system has the potential both to allow organizations to implement design projects with fewer resources and to pull in delivery timetables.


V. Driving Reasons to Use a Design Data Management System

For two years running, the top two reasons respondents gave for using a design data management system were 1) the ability of the system to accelerate the process of tracking and fixing bugs, and 2) the system’s ability to enable efficient team collaboration to deal with increasing design complexity and the distribution of work among designers and geographic locations.

The other primary reasons cited were improved designer efficiency, easier access to working configurations, and better product quality, followed by better IP and derivative reuse.


VI. Most Important Features in an IC Design Bug Tracking System

Since bug tracking and fixing is considered the most important element of a design data management system, we queried deeper to determine the most important feature in an IC design bug tracking system. The most valued functionality was traceability of bug fixes through designs (54%), followed by integration with the revision control system (45%).

Also mentioned as important were: Real-time availability of bug fixes to the entire design team (32%); reliable reproduction of previous design versions (29%); and linking bug state to design state (25%).


VII. Top Missing Design Functions from Open Source Revision Control

Designers cited the most important design functions missing from Open Source revision control: Integration with EDA tools was by far the most important missing functionality at 52%. Other missing elements were: Services and Support (25%); multi-site functionality (23%); advanced configuration management (23%); performance and scalability (21%), out-of-the-box functionality (18%), and integrated high availability and disaster recovery (15%).


VIII. Summary and ROI Impact Updated for 2010

Deployment of hardware design data management systems can be expected to grow by 27% in 2010. 47% of engineering, project and CAD managers indicated that design data management issues have caused design and tapeout delays; this results in increased engineering costs and reduced product revenue.

The financial impact resulting from design management issues for a typical 50 person engineering team can be more than $2 million per year. Several factors contribute to this amount:

  • For a 50 person engineering team with a cost of $10M/year, 14% additional overhead on designer’s time associated with design data management issues equates to $1.4M annually. A commercial DDM that can bring this overhead down to 4% will yield a $1M savings.
  • For the average product delay of approximately 3 weeks, the engineering development cost for a 50 person team would increase by about $600K. If a complete re-spin is involved, it could conservatively add another $500K in costs.
  • For a new product expected to generate $50M in revenue, depending on the length of the product lifecycle, a product delay of 3 weeks could easily reduce product revenue by $1.25M. A commercial design data management system can reduce and even eliminate this delay risk.

On average, a commercial design data management system that can reduce designer overhead associated with manual design data management costs roughly $2.5K per engineer/year. This equates to $125K/year for the same 50 person engineering team. The representative 50 person organization can expect an annual 15X return on investment from deploying a Design Management system.

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 achieve a 15x ROI for design groups, these systems must focus on easy of deployment, minimal set up time, and integration in EDA tool flows.

About IC Manage

IC Manage, Inc. provides a high performance, scalable, reliable design management system, for managing IC design data across global design teams. IC Manage Global Design Platform (GDP) is a comprehensive set of tools and configurable workflows to improve product quality, designer productivity, team collaboration, bug tracking, and IP reuse and management of derivative designs. GDP also includes built-in IT capabilities such as hot backup, high availability, and disaster recovery for 24×7 enterprise availability. For more information, please go to:

Shiv Sikand, Vice President of Engineering, IC Manage

Since co-founding IC Manage in 2003, Shiv has pioneered out-of-the box data flows for full custom, mixed signal and digital design for more than 50 leading semiconductor companies, allowing them to reduce costs and increase quality and productivity.

Shiv first started tackling the problems related to design data management at HAL Computer Systems during the SPARC v9 development program. It was while working on the MIPS processor families at SGI that he designed, implemented and deployed cdsp4, the Cadence-Perforce integration after extensive research. Prior to founding IC Manage, Shiv was at Matrix Semiconductor working on the world’s first three-dimensional memory chips. He did his post-graduate research on the design of asynchronous controllers at the University of Manchester, UK in collaboration with ARM Ltd, Philips Research Labs in Holland and IMEC in Belgium. Shiv received his BSc and MSc degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.