Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Survey Results - IC NPD Project Challenges

Interested to know what project execution challenges New Product Development (NPD) teams in the semiconductor industry are experiencing? Back in June I initiated a survey to research semiconductor development project execution and I will be sharing the results with you in this blog post. Thanks to those who spent the time to respond. The survey is still open here if you wish to participate with only 7-10 minutes of your time. Those who complete the survey receive a link, allowing the monitoring of real time results.

This survey targeted three specific areas for new product development projects in the semiconductor industry. The information collected related to project overruns, scope change and the positive or negative sources of impact to project execution. Click on the images for a full size view of the data.

Project Overruns
Estimating a figure for percentage of average overruns is not a simple task, considering that projects will have different levels of difficulty and risk. Given this complexity I was surprised to find a fairly consistent response for schedule overruns to be in the 10-30% range with a good average of 20%. There were a few outside the normal distribution, however the average was well distributed around 20%.

For cost overruns, I clearly did not have enough resolution in the 20-50% range. Most of the responses landed on the 20-50% figure, which should have been further broken down into two or three ranges. The distribution was again fairly consistent with a few inputs outside of the standard deviation.

Project Overruns

Positive and Negative Impact Sources
These questions were ranking a list of 10 sources of impact to project execution. The largest contributor to project impact was the overall requirements. The surprise for me was the project impact due to customer involvement. That was one of lowest contributors to project performance, indicating the customers involvement plays a minimal role in project performance relative to other factors.

Also noteworthy was where tool issues showed up on the list. The lower ranking relative to other contributors confirms that improving tools will not provide a significant benefit to design execution, relative to other more dominant factors. The individual objectives/deliverables, overall requirements, planning and project leadership will provide a more significant impact to a design teams productivity than the tool flow.

Project Impact Sources

Scope Change
These two questions intended to identify the level of feature creep that occurs on projects. Feature growth appears to average around 20% and feature shrinkage comes in at just under 10%. Again, this question was probably difficult to pin a number on, however the data was surprisingly consistent.

Project Feature Changes

Around middle of this month there will be a continuation of this post with discussion on mitigating the negative sources of impact noted in this survey. Keep an eye out for that topic.

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