Since the art of project leadership requires that project leaders develop judgment in making decisions, we use a fictitious case study to serve as an example of how these decisions are made. Experience on one project will not give a new project leader all the judgment that is needed, but it is a start. We use the case study to demonstrate the thought process a project leader must use.
California Semiconductor Manufacturers (CSM), based in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, is the largest dedicated independent semiconductor company in the United States. Companies around the world have trusted CSM as an integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing services company since it was formed in 1992. CSM provides a range of manufacturing services, including design services, wafer probing, assembly, and testing. Market pressures for shorter concept-to-product lifecycle, higher product quality, and ever-increasing technology needs are causing more and more customers to turn to CSM as their partner.
CSM's vision is to be the most reputable, service-oriented, and profitable "fab" (i.e., fabricator of silicon wafers). CSM strives to be the virtual fab to its customers by providing the services and technologies the customers would demand if they owned and operated their own manufacturing facilities. CSM's intent is to make the foundry service as transparent as possible by providing a seamless relationship with its customers and thus giving them the advantages of having their own fabrication facilities without the associated costs.
CSM provides manufacturing services to semiconductor companies, integrated device manufacturers, and systems equipment manufacturing companies that need fabrication services. By providing access to those companies, it allows small and emerging firms to bring new IC designs to the market. Integrated device manufacturers turn to foundries like CSM to manufacture some of their device portfolios. Systems equipment manufacturing companies outsource IC manufacturing to fabricators like CSM so that they can concentrate on their core systems and software competency.
CSM is the industry's largest manufacturer of wafers, producing about 8 percent of all wafers. CSM strives to be the capacity leader and has adopted aggressive capacity expansion plans and consistent volume production levels. As capacity and market leader, CSM is well positioned in the marketplace.
CSM offers a wide range of next-generation IC process technologies. These technologies include the advanced CMOS logic process, advanced SRAM/embedded SRAM process, advanced flash/embedded flash memory process, mixed signal process, and advanced embedded DRAM process.
CSM practices a customer-first business model that combines CSM's customer-oriented business strategy with its pioneering dedicated IC experience, management's commitment to customer satisfaction, and a systematic approach to responding immediately to customers' needs. CSM works to help make its customers competitive in the marketplace, achieving success through its customers' success.
CSM's business philosophy is based on:
Building quality into all aspects of business
Maintaining consistent focus on its core business
Treating customers as partners
Fostering a dynamic and fun work environment
Caring for employees and shareholders and being a good corporate citizen.
CSM's executive team consists of Mark Taylor, CEO and founder; Gary Short, CIO; Peter Lee, Vice President of Engineering; Carl Mathew, CFO; Susan Park, Vice President of marketing; and Bob McCally, Vice President of sales and operations. Mark Taylor formed the company in 1992 and under his leadership the company has grown from 10 employees in 1992 to 8,000 employees currently. He believes in quality management and emphasizes quality throughout the organization.
Gary Short joined the company in 1997 and is responsible for all technological decisions. He believes that technology applied well can improve supply chain time and can provide better return on investment for the company. He is very actively involved as a volunteer in the community.
Peter Lee joined the company in 1996 and has led the engineering team to success, helping the company increase its product lines and its design services. Originally from Taiwan, he earned his PhD in Engineering at Caltech.
Susan Park joined the company in 1996. She leads the marketing organization.
Bob McCally joined the company in 1995 and has increased sales revenue by 70 percent since then. Achievement-oriented, Bob emphasizes setting challenging goals and high expectations to improve performance. He believes that project leaders have many important decisions to make and need help in developing their judgment.
CSM has a single-minded focus on the silicon wafer industry. The company provides high quality IC manufacturing services to the semiconductor industry. Building on its core competencies of manufacturing and excellent customer support, CSM offers wafer manufacturing, wafer probing, IC assembly and testing, and mask production. CSM has responded to customer needs for increased efficiency in the supply chain by providing an online system for customers who want greater control over their design cycle and manufacturing process.
With 8,000 employees, CSM places priority on developing employees and gaining their commitment. CSM focuses on employee satisfaction and fostering a dynamic and fun work environment. The company subscribes to a philosophy of lifelong learning and partnering with local universities for employee development. Through the company's performance management and development process, CSM has a defined method for maximizing every employee's potential.
Now that we have introduced the key project leadership practices, the project lifecycle, and the fictitious B2B project case, we will spend the next four chapters demonstrating the kinds of decisions project leaders need to make. Our method will be to have the CSM project leaders make decisions at each project stage. Then we will comment on these decisions. We will summarize our comments regarding each decision with a project leadership lesson. Our goal is to offer readers useful suggestions in tackling their own projects.