In a typical year we would develop as many as ten new

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software was chalk. In a typical year, we would develop as many as ten new chips, and tracking each project became a nightmare. So I got a blackboard, wrote down everything that had to be done before each product could ship, and attached names and due dates to each task. My update routine was an eraser. After I left for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), where I was responsible for RAM manufacturing as well as design, it became a bit harder to keep score. So I covered my walls with blackboards, used masking tape to divide them into project panels, and transported the system from AMI. Once a week, my assistant would wheel in an electric typewriter, record the schedule, and send it out to the troops. If people in my organization wanted to know where things stood, all they had to do was come into my office and look at the blackboards. The Cypress system is just an enhanced, electronic version of what I’ve been doing for 15 years. The computer record on each goal includes a description of the task, when the goal was set, when it is due, what priority it is, who has agreed to complete it, to what manager that person reports, and to what vice president the manager reports. We are now enhancing the system by recording long-term goals (which we call “strategic” goals) and all quality-oriented goals. Of course, recording that information means I can sort by each of those fields and create special-exception reports. With a few keystrokes, I can check on the performance of any one of my vice presidents, see how a manager is relating to subordinates, or check on the progress of a particular project. No one can accuse me of not “knowing the details” of my business. Yet I don’t have to intervene where I don’t belong or try to be in a hundred places at once. The goal system provides warnings when something goes wrong and offers instant access to data in any area that I am concerned about. I’m a big advocate of management by walking around, and I regularly block out time on my calendar to visit our facilities. The goal system lets me practice MBWA all the more effectively. By sorting through the database and following up with telephone calls, I can get up to speed on an operation before I arrive. 1 No Excuses Management 12 of 28 6/14/2018, 2:27 AM
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I don’t want to give the impression that the goal system is strictly a support mechanism. It does give me the ammunition I need to cut through bureaucratic obfuscation. My access to the details means vice presidents and managers know they can’t snow me. For example, we recently shafted a valued customer by delivering an emergency shipment of parts one day late. (I learned about the problem because every officer at Cypress is “godfather” to one strategic customer and I happened to be godfather to this customer.) I spent 15 minutes at my computer screen reviewing relevant goal reports and data from a few other systems. With a follow-up telephone call or two, I discovered what went wrong. Shipping was overloaded on the day the parts were scheduled to go
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  • Spring '12
  • DirkJenter
  • Finance, Management, vice president, Vice President of the United States, Excuses Management

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