Given all the messy "place" and "people" issues involved in global design projects, you'd think the technical stuff would be the easy part. Think again.
"You need to make sure [everyone is] talking about the same thing," said Sikand.
For example, engineers from different backgrounds have different ways of structuring data directories. "Most engineers think about the overall design structure, so we abstract the data from the structure so that the engineer doesn't have to think about [the data directories]," Sikand said. "We have a way [in IC Manage's content management system] of 'projecting' a directory view."
Indeed, the ability to make predictions and track revisions is at the heart of the advanced development platforms that promise to help teams avoid data misinterpretation and inconsistencies.
"You need to be able to bind data flows and be able to bind to actual events that occur," said Sikand. "You also need to be able to revert to prior iterations in relation to the rest of the [global team's] design, and fix timing issues, so when you run regression it shows what happened."
For Synopsys' Dukes, "the key to success is standardization," especially in the context of databases and communications infrastructure.
Runtime access and control are also critical and are a key component of Synopsys' Lynx Design System, Dukes said. "You can visually see problems as individual steps complete, so managers and engineers can see where there are convergence and timing issues. Everyone on the workflow sees the same data."
Consistency of data viewing, in real-time, has changed the landscape, said Dukes. "Transparency really helps build trust. We can see progress against goals and where the problems are."
The tools also handle design data security, including access control. For example, Sikand said, when working with gig engineers, the project manager can "make sure they can only see the parts [of the design] they're working on."