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Case Study

Case Studies

Precision Q+A Improves Execution at Cypress Semiconductor

In the early 1990's Cypress Semiconductor created a strategy to transfer cutting-edge fabrication processes at its R&D site directly to manufacturing sites. The company's ability to fill orders for next-generation products depended on flawless execution of these site-to-site handoffs. Tony Alvarez, Vice President of Research & Development at the time, comments: "In 1995, when we jumped to our next generation of technology, the sudden growth in complexity almost ate us alive." Teams began to slip on milestones; executives weren't getting the answers they wanted; morale was sagging.

Cypress invested in Precision Q+A as a key tool in the jump to its next-generation technology. Engineers and project leaders were integrating knowledge from diverse fields such as R&D, product planning, and project management, and condensing at each level. For executives, understanding the right questions and knowing how to ask them was an essential component of communicating what they wanted as well as uncovering any risks buried in a team's assumptions. "When things aren't going well, it's natural for someone to feel uncomfortable when they are being asked hard questions by their managers and even their peers," Tony emphasizes, "but that's when Precision Q+A matters most. Employees' initial discomfort goes away once people are aware that direct questioning and answering is part of a company-wide philosophy and another tool for helping us work efficiently. The shared language and methodology of Precision Q+A creates better communication and tighter alignment between company executives, senior managers, and the working teams that construct and implement solutions."
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