Saturday, February 24, 2007

Schedule vs. Quality

Many times through the life of a project we are forced to make a decision where we cut corners and add risk to quality or stand firm and say "It's just going to be later than we wanted". These decision are never easy and the pressures to take the fast route are usually pretty intense. When I am faced with a decision such as this it is important for me to step back and scope it from a time to production standpoint, not from a time to tapeout position.

Making a decision based on a near term milestone, such as tapeout can be very deceiving. If the decision to trim a step in the interest of meeting a tapeout adds significant risk to the ability of sampling first silicon, you are really deciding on the possibility of adding another spin in the time to production. This can easily add 2-3 months to the production schedule.

How do you handle these schedule vs. quality decisions and has has it worked or failed for you?

1 comment:

  1. It is very true that the decision to meet or slip a tapeout schedule is much more involved than just the act of releasing the design. Tapeout or PG time is always a decision of confidence in the design. Is the design ready? Have sufficient reviews been conducted? Have the necessary simulations been completed? One key aspect of making the decision to tapeout involves listening to the design team. Are the designers confident in their work or have they cut to many corners to meet schedule? If you don't value the inputs of the team doing the work then it is likely the team is underqualified for the project. The time to PG is when team confidence is high and your design check points have been completed. Your job as a design manager includes asking the right questions to make sure the team has been diligent in checking their work and assessing their confidence. The bottom line in making the final go-no-go decision is when seeing silicon is all that will raise confidence to that final 100% level.