Monday, October 15, 2007

Parallels and Dichotomies of IC design and Software Development

I have noted on many occasions that the development of a software project has many parallels to the efforts of an IC design project. Both have modularized activities that must be broken down from a big picture view, the system level and architectural work if you will. Smaller tasks must be defined and architected to match up with the high level requirements. If the lower level tasks come in and do not meet the high level interface requirements rework is necessary. Collaboration is an essential ingredient in both environments.

What I do find interesting with IC design teams is that there is far less adoption of formalized program management (PM) methods than I see in the software/IT product development world. In the IC design world there is more reliance on the technical design tools as the main ingredient of a projects success in lieu of a form of PM methodology. This seems to be taking place while the semiconductor business units are making reasonable investments in formalizing PM. Does anyone else see a similar dichotomy between these two product development philosophies? Any comments as to why this me be an accepted practice in IC Design?