Hardware teams understand the importance of planning, but does the act of project planning guarantee success to the same degree that avoiding project planning guarantees failure?
It appears not.
asked if the likelihood of delivering behind schedule has decreased
over time, the majority - 61% - of respondents believe there has been no
improvement in their team’s ability to deliver hardware on time with
respect to original project estimates.
obvious explanation for a lack of improvement involves a team’s
appetite for reflection. Only 55% regularly critique their approach to
Another possible explanation for that lack of
improvement is the disconnect between an individual’s confidence in
their approach to project planning and that of their management. An
unsettling 74% of respondents perceive that their management sees their
approach to project planning gives a high chance of success. With such a
disconnect between the confidence of individuals and their management,
teams may feel they lack the collective imperative to improve planning
practices and instead settle for the status quo.
Early project planning recommendations
early analysis, we believe teams have opportunities to significantly
change their approach to project planning in a way that improves
confidence within the team and chance of timely delivery. Given the data
and our own experience in hardware development, we recommend the
- Measure confidence in project planning in a way
that is transparent between all levels within an organization to expose
misconceptions between individuals and their managers.
- In our
opinion, having 55% of teams regularly critique their approach to
project planning is far too low. We recommend teams critique their
approach to project planning regularly using supporting data where
- We recommend teams avoid standardizing planning
practices until they demonstrate successful project planning. While
standardization seems like an opportunity to increase productivity, it
may unintentionally result in the enforcement of practices that are
Where do we go from here?
mixed support for current project planning practices and schedule
overruns reported from 87% of recent projects, we feel the survey data
support our hypothesis that confidence in hardware project planning is
unacceptably low; also that success rates for hardware projects, with
respect to initial project scheduling, are dismal. We believe project
planning to be an extremely important area of research that can lead to
greatly improved planning practices and much higher success rates.
plan on continuing with our analysis of the full set of survey data in
the coming weeks on www.AgileSoC.com (the complete survey includes a
list of 36 questions, many of which are not discussed here). In
addition, we intend to share the data freely with anyone from the
hardware and project management communities interested in participating
directly, providing feedback on recommendations and/or doing their own
If you are interested in obtaining the data from our
project planning survey, you can contact us directly at
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Johnson has been working in ASIC and FPGA development for more than 10
years. He currently holds the position of Principal Consultant at
XtremeEDA Corp, a design services firm specializing in all aspects of
ASIC and FPGA development. Neil is also co-moderator for AgileSoC.com, a
site dedicated to the introduction of Agile development methods to the
world of hardware development.
Catherine Louis, founder of www.cll-group.com
, has over 20 years of software development experience in complex product development in large telecommunication firms. Her focus is on Agile methods, Agile R&D, and managing organizational Agile transitions: Enabling change to build speed and flexibility in business. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or via twitter @catherinelouis.
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