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The ripple effect

Ron Collett
7/29/2010 09:25 AM EDT

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RCollett
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re: The ripple effect
RCollett   9/8/2010 6:32:33 PM
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Numetrics' fact-based planning solution can be applied to one project or numerous projects. The solution is independent of the number of projects. Likewise, it is being applied at both large and small companies across the industry. It solves the problem you identify by providing a reliable calculation of the complexity of the design -- which is expressed as the amount of effort the average team in the industry would spend on the project. If you expect that your team is going to be more productive (because they are "of the highest breed" as you say) then you can increase the input productivity and get an estimate based on that productivity assumption. You can also run a full range of alternative scenarios, trading off: anticipated productivity level vs. staffing available vs. schedule constraints vs. features/functionality.

RCollett
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re: The ripple effect
RCollett   9/8/2010 6:18:21 PM
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Fact-based planning attacks that problem by getting an accurate estimate of the design complexity -- based on an industry index, which is a calculation of the amount of effort the average team in the industry would spend on that project given the schedule imposed. From there, the engineering manager can run alternative scenarios based on different estimates of anticipated team productivity. This gives a reliable estimate of best case, worst case, nominal, etc.

RCollett
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re: The ripple effect
RCollett   9/8/2010 6:05:30 PM
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Hi Ron, Great point. It's the "usual suspects" that cause schedule slip. Fundamentally, the reason is because there is a mismatch between the expected amount of effort that a design project will require and the complexity of the design itself. Getting a fact-based, quantitative estimate of the design's complexity and the anticipated productivity of the team enables reliable estimates. Better methodologies enable one to increase the estimate of productivity. Thanks for the comment.

RCollett
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re: The ripple effect
RCollett   9/8/2010 5:32:05 PM
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Hi Mark, Apologies for the delay in replying. The short answer to your question of how Numetrics help with the accuracy of the underlying estimates is that our estimation engines, which underpin our fact-base planning tools, are calibrated with a tremendous amount of industry data. This data enables us to build highly accurate models. The estimation engines have been applied somwhere around a thousand IC projects from dozens of semiconductor R&D organizations. For a lot more detail, please check out our web site: www.numetrics.com Cheers, Ron

UdaraW
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re: The ripple effect
UdaraW   8/24/2010 4:36:32 AM
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From what it appears, fact-based planning tool from Numetrics focuses on a setup where dozens of projects run in parallel and have to be resourced adequately in order to reduce the possibility of a ripple crash effect. In my view, the product appears suitable for an extra-large corporate R&D team. However, much more prevalent and pressing problem industry-wide, as I observe, exists in planning and resourcing the R&D projects in the smallest of companies. The start-ups creating their first product and the smallest of R&D teams in the growth markets appear never to complete projects in time and within budget. They operate on the absolute cutting edge technologies. Their projects are mainly first-timers. Their tools, not yet mature. Their engineers, generally are of the highest breed. And, their projects appear to fail miserably more often than not. This is a prevalent problem which has caused many a brilliant idea go down the flush-basin. Digging into many failed start-ups in recent times, one can not help but notice many market launches undermined by the project scheduling and estimation mishaps. Semiconductor start-ups missing the tape-out deadlines by several months are not uncommon. With venture-capitalists increasingly making their due diligence procedures more and more strict, a method to schedule these small-scale yet big-impact projects in an adequate manner is needed. Can Numetrics deliver one such solution?

DrFPGA
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re: The ripple effect
DrFPGA   8/20/2010 12:05:27 AM
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My experience has been that projects will be very difficult to estimate when they are in a new direction for a design team. A simple update to last years design is one thing but a design that attacks a new market or uses a new technology are very difficult to make esimates or plan for. An example- a project I worked on took already productized designs from a large semi company and just had to 'retarget' it as IPCores. Verification was done and the designs were in products shipping in very high volume. How were we to estimate how long and what manpoer it would take to 'retarget'? We did the normal thing and spect as much time as management allowed to dig into the design, had a boatload of training fron the supplier and tried to come up with a rational schedule. We were just making a guess however since we didn't have much solid experience. Management pressure to get something to market quickly was too strong to resist so you can guess our estimates were pushed to the 'sooner not later' side. How would fact-based planning help here?

RonCraig
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re: The ripple effect
RonCraig   7/30/2010 4:28:39 PM
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Completely agree - it's all about the planning. What I tend to also hear in my interactions with customers is that the same 'schedule killer' issues keep popping up repeatedly. The key point here is that the same things keep happening - bad timing constraints that slip through undetected, metastability problems, power planning bugs etc. etc. These issues can only be addressed by better methodologies, which must go hand with appropriate staffing.

Mark Wehrmeister
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re: The ripple effect
Mark Wehrmeister   7/30/2010 4:59:26 AM
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This sounds good, but it is only as good as the project plans ans staffing estimates used for the roll-up estimates. How does the Numetrics software help with the accuracy of the underlying estimates?

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