How Chipmakers Tame Complexity and Speed Time to Market

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Time to market has always been a concern for semiconductor companies—and as their focus shifts increasingly toward the automotive and industrial sectors, it becomes more vital than ever. But acting quickly isn’t easy for chipmakers, given the nature of their production process. In simple terms, it’s a lot like herding cats.

Marketing teams, product teams and engineering teams all have different wants, needs and agendas. They must grapple with requirements documents that are hundreds of pages long and quickly rendered obsolete by the latest changes. Further complicating the process, decisions and alterations are locked up in many different email chains, spreadsheets and meeting minutes. There is rarely a central record that everyone can easily view and discuss.

In today’s ultracompetitive market, this state of affairs is no longer tenable for semiconductor companies. They must focus on customer demands as never before and make products quickly and accurately to meet those demands. For example, many semiconductor firms are now getting into the automotive market, where customers have very specific needs, such as chips for autonomous driving.

To satisfy these demands, semiconductor companies need to capture customer requests in an organized and actionable fashion. They need a good way to associate what the marketing team defines as a customer need and what the development team creates. There also must be a close connection between what the sales team is learning in the field and what the product development team is ultimately building.

Another challenge for semiconductor companies, particularly those targeting the auto industry, is the need to show compliance. Many of the chips in cars are critical to driver safety. And for a new car model to be certified safe, a semiconductor supplier must prove, at every step of the development process, that its product is designed with enough rigor to meet consumer-safety regulations.

Requirements Management with Jama

The Jama™ solution is the preferred product development platform for 10 of the top 25 semiconductor companies. Jama simplifies complex product development by connecting all teams to past data and live data, which accelerates decisions and mitigates errors. All parties can view and discuss a vital central document. With Jama as their requirements system of record, semiconductor companies can maintain alignment with real-time updates across hardware and software teams in a single location.

Real-Time Traceability

With the real-time traceability of the Jama solution, semiconductor firms can identify the gaps and dependencies between people and data throughout the development cycle, creating a digital thread of context and accountability. By tracing requirements, teams can see the ripple effect that changes will have; see if a requirement has been completed; and know if it’s being tested properly. Traceability and change management provide chipmakers with the peace of mind and visibility they need to anticipate issues and ensure continuous quality. Traceability is also crucial for demonstrating regulatory compliance at every point of the development life cycle—from concept definition to production.

Enterprisewide Alignment

When data exists in a silo, updated only when it’s needed and only by those who know it exists, it creates a lack of alignment. This leads to increased costs downstream, technical debt and a product that doesn’t stand up in the market. With Jama, every product detail, spec, requirement and change lives in one robust, collaborative requirements-management solution, which is critical to creating a multimillion dollar product that can take a year or longer to build. Jama ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page at each stage of the development process. What’s more, with the Jama Review Center, semiconductor firms can share product requirements among multiple teams for review and confirmation, negotiate engineering responses, and iterate on specifications.

Ease of Use

The solution’s ease of use is critical because many semiconductor companies have not used requirements-management tools in the past. Their staff will not accept a tool that’s hard to use. But thanks to the highly intuitive user interface of the Jama solution, team members can dive in and start benefiting from the tool in a matter of minutes, without training.

Reuse, Not Reinvention

With Jama, teams can create a set of assets once and reuse them across projects. This eliminates the need to reinvent and reduces the threat of inconsistencies in standards. Reuse is also a critical capability for following regulations in the semiconductor industry. If teams can’t easily find information, don’t know who to ask for it, don’t know where to look for it, and don’t know what is and is not reusable, they’re lost. Jama enables them to document once and reincorporate trusted and proven content, creating relationships through traceability so they never have to hunt for critical data.

One Platform, Many Benefits

With Jama, chipmakers can simplify and accelerate complex product development processes. They can connect all teams to live data, accelerate decisions and reduce risk. The Jama platform offers myriad advantages to semiconductor manufacturers:

  • Faster time to market – When semiconductor companies get requirements right the first time, they get faster development cycles, better products and higher customer satisfaction.
  • Cost savings – Jama helps companies save money and prevent headaches throughout the development process. Research shows that companies can eliminate 50 percent to 80 percent of product defects by effectively managing requirements. What’s more, concise requirements help detect problems early, when they’re less expensive to fix. It can cost up to 100 times more to correct a defect after the fact.
  • Ensured compliance – Jama gives chipmakers confidence that their products meet every standard. When semiconductor companies work in Jama, they easily meet compliance requirements. They can show auditors connections between regulations, requirements and tests, as well as related changes and discussions. Regulators can see the impact and validation of any change, which speeds along the approval process.

Learn more about the Jama product development platform at www.jamasoftware.com/platform.