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1/21/2014

Teradyne Jaguar Project Case Study

Teradyne Corporation: The Jaguar Project As Jack OBrien, project lead of Teradynes Jaguar project, sat in traffic on his way to work he pondered his teams efforts over the past eight years. Teradyne, a manufacturer of semiconductor test machines, had long been awaiting the arrival of their new full-range testing equipment. The project marked a number of firsts for Teradyne including up-front project planning, formalized tools for project tracking, and a structured development process. Despite the learning curve all new methodologies impose, OBriens project had become a success in the hardware department, yet the software group struggled through much of the implementation, and was still working on deliverables. Had the new tools and techniques hindered the development processes? This paper will analyze Teradynes traditional project execution strategies in contrast to those of the Jaguar project, will describe how the new project management tools made an impact on the project, and present the lessons learned throughout the experience. Company History Teradyne, a 45 year veteran of the semiconductor industry, specializes in testing equipment for transistors and other electrical components. The company was founded in 1960 by two MIT graduates with a vision to bring a line of reliable, fast testing equipment to the industry. As the complexity and volume of components manufactured by their customers increased, so did Teradynes investment in research and development. By 2004 Teradyne had five business units, including semiconductor test, assembly test, broadband test, connection systems, and diagnostic solutions. Semiconductor test remained the largest business operation for the company, producing just under two thirds of annual revenue in 2004. The company had six major engineering operations across the United States, with three of those facilities housing manufacturing operations. Teradyne had also dispersed across the globe with smaller engineering operations set up in Japan, China, and Germany. The Semiconductor Industry Semiconductors span a very broad range of devices which can typically be classified by 2 broad categories: memory, and system on chip. Each type of device performs a specific job. For example, a graphics card possesses a processor, as does the motherboard inside a single computer. A computer may have any of 10 different types and sizes of memory for its various components such as CPU, Cache, RAM, persistent storage, etc. Consequently, each type of device has its own set of complex manipulations that it performs on the electrical signals that come as inputs. As semiconductors grew over the years to become smaller and more powerful, minor flaws in the production process could prevent an entire device from functioning correctly. This resulted in a high demand for testing equipment that could determine if a component was functional or not. This simple idea is quite a complex device, as devices often have a very wide range of operations. This is where Teradyne comes in. Teradynes product performs the testing of components to ensure that their behavior lies within the specifications outlined by their manufactures, essentially telling them if a component is good or bad before it leaves the factory. By 2004 Teradyne had become the worlds leader in semiconductor testing equipment with over 6000 employees worldwide. Their biggest competition came from Aligent, Advantest, and Credence, who held considerably smaller shares of the market. Customers tended to be manufacturers like Intel, IBM, Hitachi, and Samsung who were actively creating new products and were willing to spend nearly 3 million dollars on a machine. Over the years, the production process of Teradynes customers had dramatically changed. Since production volumes were going up, and prices coming down, it was imperative that the testing process not slow down production operations. Reliability was of great concern as testing was often considered a bottleneck in the production process and any downtime would be extremely costly. Therefore, customer service was a major
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1/21/2014

Teradyne Jaguar Project Case Study

selling point as well. As technology progressed, so did the need for more testing equipment, as each new device often required purchasing a new specifically built piece of testing equipment. Therefore it was very common for customers to rely on Teradynes past experience with their products in developing new equipment. Furthermore, it was very common that once a company was chosen to develop testing equipment for a particular device, no other company would compete in that area. The rapid development of new semiconductors required equally rapidly development of testing machines, which proved to be a difficult task. It was becoming more important that testing companies come up with equipment that was no longer limited to testing a single device, but rather could be configured to test multiple devices. This would in short provide equipment that was considerably more difficult to develop, but would prove much more cost effective for the customer. Culture Teradynes background was strongly focused on engineering as many of the senior managers came from an engineering background. Technical competence was strongly focused, and projects were driven mostly by performance. Engineers were encouraged to dive in to tasks, and encouraged to prove themselves. The company emphasized the individual. The office environment was mostly cubicles even for executives, and the dress was casual. Many employees considered themselves at Teradyne for the long haul. Long hours were normal. In the early 1990s Teradyne experienced a major change in leadership with the arrival of CEO Alex DArbeloff. Alex grew interested in the risk of losing Teradynes competitive edge due to quality and reliability concerns. Although DArbeloff believed the team was exceedingly competent, he believed there were fundamental operating problems including reporting and performance measurements. To combat these problems, DArbeloff embraced total quality management (TQM). After 5 years of intensive effort, TQM principles were embedded into most aspects of work at the company and resulted in dramatic improvement in manufacturing quality and customer service. However, the engineering organization continued to resist TQM as evidenced by continuing late and over budget projects. Project Execution Strategy Throughout the 1990s, Teradyne focused on developing different test systems for each type of semiconductor device. In 2001, Teradyne made a fundamental change in strategy and transitioned to development of a single flexible, consolidated tester platform. The project, code-named Jaguar, was critical to the companys competitive strategy. It is noted that, from the outset, it was recognized that the project had to execute flawlessly. In addition to the change in strategic direction and technology, the Jaguar project represented a significant departure from Teradynes traditional project execution strategy including increased emphasis on upfront planning and design, reorganization of project team structure, the introduction of prescriptive project management processes, and use of formalized project management tools. These changes were more than simply process changes; they required changes to core cultural values. Project Teams In order to support the Jaguar project, Teradyne abolished the market-segment-focused platform engineering organizations and folded them into a single platform engineering group. The reorganization required merging engineering organizations in Boston and Agoura Hills that had been working independently on flexible tester
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1/21/2014

Teradyne Jaguar Project Case Study

projects using different approaches. This represented a major change to a company whose teams had traditionally operated with autonomy reinforced by statements such as telling new recruits that no one would tell them what to do and it was their responsibility to dive in and ask the right questions. Historically, projects had been handled by individual engineering functions and there was no one individual responsible for the entire project. In contrast to this past approach, Teradyne appointed Jack OBrien as project leader of Jaguar. A core team was formed from the leaders of subsystem teams in Boston, Agoura Hills, San Jose, Minneapolis and Portland to coordinate progress and make critical organizational and technical decisions across teams. Design and Planning Another element of the Jaguar project that required a change to existing cultural norms was the emphasis on upfront design and planning. In the past, projects at Teradyne were poorly planned. Goals, scope, and milestones were not clearly defined, schedules were slapdash, and there was no systematic method for tacking project progress. Because of its strategic importance and critical mid-2004 delivery date, Jaguar required rigorous planning and a clearly defined scope. While Teradyne traditionally tended to go all in on front-end sizing and reduce the scope over the course of the project, Jaguar required a required early commitment to key product specifications. As such, OBrien and his team spent more time than usual on the concept development and product planning processes. The company had implemented a phase-gate model for development projects in order to provide well-defined milestones and review points. Senior management signed off on the Phase II Project and Product Planning gate only after the Jaguar team compiled a 75-page presentation detailing the proposed system architecture, design, and functional specifications, target performance specifications, and the project execution plan. This resulted in some discomfort and frustration among team members who preferred less detailed planning to allow for more flexibility and experimentation during Phase III, Detailed Design and Development. Project Management Processes and Tools One of the most critical elements of the Jaguar project execution strategy was the introduction of formalized project management tools including work breakdown structure, 3-point estimation, critical path analysis, earned value analysis and the Primavera project scheduling program. OBrien was a strong believer in these tools and their ability to force discipline in the development process. These tools enabled the team to execute project management practices including up-front project planning, project tracking, and a more structured development process. Furthermore, they enabled OBrien to communicate the project status to management and to identify critical issues that required senior managements action or support. OBrien and the team committed themselves to June 30 as the first customer-ship date. As such, it was important to identify, mitigate, and address delays of individual tasks through the course of the project. The teams ability to adapt and mitigate delays was further amplified as AlphaTech, a huge potential customer, was about to commit to Teradynes competitors system. The project management tools enabled the project team to be flexible in responding to delays and management could decide if resources should be reallocated to project parts that had encountered delay. The tools also provided visibility into project which allowed Teradyne to respond to AlphaTech and remain confident to hit all milestones. Impact of Project Management Tools
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1/21/2014

Teradyne Jaguar Project Case Study

There were mixed reactions to the project management tools. Some team members believed in the value of project tools while others saw them as a distraction from the work. People were afraid of the tools as they forced a commitment to milestones. As such, people might be spending more time managing the metric rather than the project. Certain behaviors were not changed even though the tools were used. Specifically, the software team was in denial with their schedule. The management team did not pay enough attention to the data as a result of skepticism around the metric. The team did not respond to the data which indicated a delay in schedule through the earned value tool. Some members allowed the data to lie to them. As a result, the software component of the program was behind schedule. The software challenge faced on the Jaguar program extended beyond the program itself. The volume production for Ultra Flex system, a separate program from Jaguar, was pushed out six months as a result of delay in getting the software online. Lessons Learned Cultural Change The Jaguar project was not as successful as it could have been not because of incapable people or poor processes, but because top management failed to provide the training necessary to effectively implement the substantive cultural changes required to support the new project management processes. The new tools and methodologies could be very useful but required buy in from users in order to achieve their potential. Unlike the TQM initiative of the early 1990s, there was no management support to establish that buy in. The TQM changes necessitated a large training effort and cultural change throughout the company that took the better part of five years to fully develop and be incorporated into the everyday functions of the company. At least for most of the company, there were still portions of the enterprise that hadnt fully embraced or integrated the TQM concept specifically the software development division. The fundamental change in the methodology of managing projects would have been better implemented had Teradyne spent the same or more cultural change processes as was done with the TQM introduction. Adoption of Project Management Tools Throughout the project there were instances of problems with the use of the new project management tools. At one point it was noted that occasionally the focus of status meetings was less on project status and more on the tools and data that were being used to manage the project. Project tools such as Primavera were cumbersome and use was inconsistent. There was little confidence in the tool as an efficient method of entering data. The addition of project management staff assisted in this and would be advantageous in the future. In addition to the shortcomings of the project management tools, the individuals using them were not sufficiently trained to recognize red flags. In one instance, the software development performance was consistently reported as behind schedule. However, Teradyne didnt respond to the software development schedule slippage until well into the project resulting in increased cost for the company and increased stress for managers and engineers. The tools used for software development did not take into account the extreme variability of software. The hardware portion of the project had well defined milestones and physical objects to be used as benchmarks; the software side had not developed these milestones to such a degree nor did the work breakdown structure for the software development detailed enough. The entire process for development of software was not well thought through nor was it planned for. The software development cycle is just that a cycle and as such the project management would be well served to entertain a different method of tracking progress. With this in mind, the
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1/21/2014

Teradyne Jaguar Project Case Study

confidence in the data and reports might be higher, enabling management to react earlier in the development of the project. Risk Analysis and Scope Creep Although there seemed to be a large portion of time spent in Phase II on schedules and detailed work structures, there did not seem to be a thorough investigation into risks, both inside the company and outside. The software engineers were working on a different product when the development began. This was a major effort for Teradyne and it did not seem to have been considered when development of resource needs. The customer who became the most important piece of the project was not even mentioned in the early stages, nor were there any indications that the overall schedule might be changed due to outside forces. The company would be well served for a more up-front detailed risk analysis coupled with the appropriate contingencies. In addressing the above customer importance, the scope of the project changed significantly in the middle of the project, this necessitated a complete change in the direction of the project essentially throwing the entire team into crisis mode. Although they were successful, the scope change was critical to the success of the project.

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