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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

DAC 2009: R U a Wizard of Management Warcraft?

August 3rd, 2009 by Peggy Aycinena

Thanks to Virage Logic VP/Chief Scientist Yervant Zorian and Cadence, once again this year those who attended Management Day at DAC were privileged in the final session of the July 28th event to listen in as eight Wizards of Management Warcraft wrapped up a day of individual presentations by talking en masse about their work in an unscripted, unstructured, and boldly spontaneous way.

The 2009 Panel of Wizards included …

* Albert Li – Director, Global Unichip
* Alan Nakamoto – VP Engineering & Founder, PMC-Sierra
* Pierre Garnier – VP & GM Worldwide Wireless Baseband, TI
* Philippe Magarshak – VP Central R&D, STMicroelectronics
* Don Friedberg – Director, Network & Storage Products Group, LSI
* Rani Borkar – VP Digital Enterprise Group, Intel
* Christoph Heer – VP Digital IP & Reuse, Infineon
* Ed Nuckolls – Austin IC R&D, Freescale Semiconductor

Clearly a battle-hardened group of Senior Managers, try as I might as moderator of the panel, I could not break them. Despite my tough and aggressive questions, designed to make these Wizards weep, they simply would not.

Instead, the group remained steadfast, wondrous, and whimsical throughout our conversation, sitting shoulder to shoulder on the stage in front of me, staring down my questions with steely resolve – laughing in the face of the potential for fear, failure, and financial ruin linked to the problems I posed.

Of course, these Wizards had already faced a far tougher audience than I in the hours leading up to our session that day. Covering some of the thorniest problems in IC design, they had already given lengthy presentations on a host of topics …

* Opportunities & Challenges in High-performance Microprocessors (Intel‘s Borkar)
* Opportunities & Trends in 3-D Stacking (STMicro‘s Magarshak)
* Platforms for Next-generation Networking Devices (LSI‘s Friedberg)
* The 5-Month versus 15-Month SOC Development Cycle (PMC-Sierra‘s Nakamoto)
* Design challenges with Intense Mobile Multimedia Processors (TI‘s Garnier)
* IP Development for Complex Wireless Baseband SOCs (Infineon’s Heer)
* EDA for Zero Defect Design (Freescale‘s Nuckolls)
* Trade-off Analysis in Complex SOC Designs (Unichip‘s Li)


Asking, Wanting & Wondering …

Given this fabulous breadth of topics, completely relevant to EDA … 

* You may be asking why all of DAC Land wasn’t in attendance at Management Day. Certainly there were a hundred people in the room for the event, but the thousands who could/should have learned from the Wizards of Management Warcraft were not there. I just don’t know why.

* You may be wanting to see the slides from the presentations. Will they be available anytime soon? I also don’t know, but Yervant Zorian probably does. Contact him at Virage Logic.

* You may be wondering what was left to cover in the closing panel of the day. Thankfully, I do know the answer to that – you’ll find the questions below.

Take a moment to answer the quiz, then compare your results with the Wizards themselves. You’ll find out straightaway if you qualify to join the Club of the Capable, the Federation of the Fierce, the League of Leaders. You’ll find out if you qualify to become …

A Wizard of Management Warcraft!


The Quiz …

1) Which one of you has actually designed anything in the last 12 months?

2) Re: design for manufacturing. Are the tools you need available?

3) Is DFM about tools or about services?

4) Do the foundries withhold information?

5) Are you working at the ESL level?

6) Do you have the third-party tools you need at the ESL level?

7) Do you use any type of Project Management Software?

Eight) Do you buy third-party Project Management Software, or you do develop your own?

9) Do you spend more than 30 minutes a day reading the reports generated by Project Management Software?

10) How do you guarantee that you’re getting information about what’s going on in your organization?

11) Which is a bigger problem for you – the people in the organization you manage, or the people that manage you?

12) What keeps you awake at night – Money/Budgetary issues or Technology issues?

13) Even though some of you already have PhD’s, would you advise a BSEE to go on for an MBA or an MSEE?

14) Do you enjoy your job?

15) Which do you find more compelling about your job – the People or the Technology?


The Answers …

1) Only 1 out of 8 Wizards has done any hands-on design in the last 12 months.

2) 8 out of 8 Wizards said DFM tools are available, but some tools are much harder to use than others.

3) 8 out of 8 Wizards said DFM is about tools, not services. Yet, 8 out of 8 Wizards said they expect a full range of services and assistance from their DFM tool vendors in implementing the tools. They expect their vendors “to put some skin in the game.”

4) 8 out of 8 Wizards said yield and manufacturability data is available from the foundries, but some foundry relationships are better than others. Some foundries are more forthcoming than others.

5) 8 out of 8 Wizards are working today at some level of ESL, but are all still working far more at lower levels of abstraction.

6) 8 out of 8 Wizards said third-party ESL tools are available today, but they all agreed, “The tools are still in their infancy!”

7) 8 out of 8 Wizards use some type of Project Management software.

Eight) 8 out of 8 Wizards use a combination of in-house Project Management software and third-party tools, with a far, far greater reliance on in-house tools over third-party tools.

9) Only 1 Wizard out of 8 spends more than 30 minutes a day reading the reports generated by their Project Management software. Meanwhile, one of the other Wizards said, if a Manager is spending more than 5 minutes a day reading such reports, they don’t really know what’s going on in their organization: “You have to hear directly from your people what’s going on!”

10) 8 out of 8 Wizards said they have a “no-fault” or “open-door” policy that allows information from within their organization to filter up to them, that their people can report on success or failure without fear of recrimination.

11) 4 out of 8 Wizards said the people below them cause them far more headaches than the people above them, but 4 out of 8 Wizards said the people they manage cause them far fewer headaches than the people they themselves have to report to.

12) 7 out of 8 Wizards said the Technology issues make for sleepless nights, far more than Budgetary issues. It’s the Technology, not the Money! Only 1 out of 8 Wizards said it’s the Money.

13) 7 out of 8 Wizards said an MSEE would be far more useful than an MBA. Only 1 out of the 8 said an MBA would be better.

14) 8 out of 8 Wizards said they love their jobs!

15) 7 out of 8 Wizards said it’s absolutely the People that make their jobs worthwhile! Only 1 out of 8 said it’s the Technology.


R U a Wizard?

Do your answers to the quiz correlate with at least 75% of the answers from the Wizards of Management Warcraft?

Well Done!


A Word to the not-Wizards of EDA …

Going forward, future participants in the DAC Big Wig EDA CEO Plenary Session & Panel might take a hint from the courage of the 2009 Wizards of Management Warcraft.

EDA Big Wigs could be Wizards, too, but only if they exhibit willingness to answer unscripted, unvetted questions in public. The idea that EDA companies are publicly traded, and ergo senior management can’t be candid is nonsense. After all, 8 out of 8 of the 2009 Wizards of Management Warcraft work for publicly traded companies.

Enuff said!

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