Planning to Fail in Hardware Development

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 12.44.55 PMYes… you’re reading the title right! Seems we hardware developers spend more of our time planning for failure than we do for success!

How, you might be asking yourself, could I make such an outlandish claim?

Well, Catherine Louis and I have started analyzing data from the project planning survey we did last year and the data appear to support that conclusion. The results aren’t pretty, but they certainly are interesting :)!

Last week we began sharing our analysis in an EETimes article calledĀ Planning to Fail is Planning to Fail. In that article, we look at the first few data points that we found most telling. One that sticks out to us is that 87% of the people polled see their projects finishing behind schedule; another is that only half of respondents are confident in their approach to project planning. There’s other data in there that we think is compelling enough to support the idea hardware developers are stuck in a rut that ends in failure relative to what they plan for.

That article is just the beginning though. We asked people to respond to 30 different statements related to planning in hardware development and the EETimes article presented just a slice of what we observed. The rest will get posted here over the next few weeks but we want to give AgileSoC.com followers a chance to guide the discussion. How would you like to see this rolled out? Given the list of statements we had, what results are you interested in? Why do they interest you? You can let us know in the comments; you can also shoot us an email. Or… for anyone that wants to go BIG, we’ll share the data and you can do your own analysis as an AgileSoC.com guest contributor. Basically, we want people to get the most out of what we have so if you have ideas for how to do that, we’re open to them :)!

Here’s the list of statements we asked people to ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’ with…

  • I expect to create project plans that remain stable through the life of a project
  • My peers expect to create project plans that remain stable through the life of a project
  • Our management expects to create project plans that remain stable through the life of a project
  • Individual items in an initial project plan have time estimates that are accurate
  • An initial project plan accurately identifies the amount of work the project requires
  • An initial project plan accurately identifies risks and impediments
  • I play an active role in creating an initial project plan
  • An initial project plan accurately captures my project responsibilities
  • An initial project plan accurately captures the time required to fulfill my project responsibilities
  • I rarely do work that is not represented on a project schedule
  • My peers have reasonable expectations about changes to the project plan
  • Our management has reasonable expectations about changes to the project plan
  • Initial project plans remain stable through the life of a project
  • I expect major project milestones to remain stable through the life of a project
  • Major project milestones are unambiguous and universally understood
  • Major project milestones are unambiguous and well-communicated to the entire development team
  • Major project milestones are unambiguous and well-communicated to others in the company
  • Major project milestones are unambiguous and well-communicated to customers and partners
  • Major project milestones are a valuable metric for measuring and conveying progress
  • Major project milestones remain stable through the life of a project
  • Our team does a good job of responding to changes in the project plan
  • Our team does a good job of managing risks and impediments
  • Our management pushes us to meet aggressive deadlines
  • Over the project life cycle, my level of stress increases
  • Over the project life cycle, the number of hours I work increases
  • I believe our approach to project planning gives our team a high chance of success
  • My peers believe our approach to project planning gives our team a high chance of success
  • Our management believes our approach to project planning gives our team a high chance of success
  • We regularly critique our approach to project planning
  • Over time, the likelihood of us delivering behind schedule has decreased

We’ll give people some time to have that soak in… but then it’s time to speak up! What are you most interested in? Use the comments section or send us an email atĀ neil.johnson@agilesoc.com or cll@cll-group.com.

-neil

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About nosnhojn

I've been working in ASIC and FPGA development for more than 13 years at various IP and product development companies and now as a consultant with XtremeEDA Corp. In 2008 I took an interest in agile software development. I've found a massive amount of material out there related to agile development, all of it is interesting and most of it is applicable to hardware development in one form or another. So I'm here to find what agile concepts will work for hardware development and to help other developers use them successfully. I've been fortunate to have the chance to speak about agile hardware development at various conferences like Agile2011, Agile2012, Intel Lean/Agile Conference 2013 and SNUG. I also do lunch-n-learn talks for small groups and enjoy talking to anyone with an agile hardware story to tell! You can find me at neil.johnson@agilesoc.com.
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2 Responses to Planning to Fail in Hardware Development

  1. Pingback: Over-Verification: an intricate puzzle | ICS Partners :: Success in Semiconductor Placement Since 1995

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