I usually try to visit many of our customers in Europe (and other parts of the world) at least a couple of times a year. On my last trip in October, while I was in Stockholm, I ended up having beers at a pub with one of our local AEs and a Specman customer. This customer had been telling me about all the "good stuff" that he was leveraging with our Specman Verification Solution which was great to hear, but I also like to understand the "bad and the ugly". I am always interested to hear ideas from customers on how we can improve our verification solutions, so I figured I would take advantage of the fact that after a few beers most people tend to be a bit more "forthcoming" about what they really think.
When I asked this Verification Engineer what he wanted to see us improve, I expected him to start asking for all kinds of new features that would make his life easier, but instead he started hammering on me about his perception that Cadence is promoting SystemVerilog all the time and not saying anything about e and Specman. He was clearly frustrated and didn't hold back in telling me how, from his perspective, we were screwing up (I did ask for it after all). He explained how after ramping up on Specman and applying our Metric-Driven Verification Methodology over the past couple of years, he was really enjoying his work and success as a bug-finding machine compared to the dark ages of directed testing he endured before using Specman. However, due to the fact that there was a lot more marketing and hype around SystemVerilog relative to Specman/e over the last year, our competitors were spreading rumors to his management that since Cadence was investing in SystemVerilog, they were going to kill Specman/e. This was making his management and him question whether they should continue using e or consider switching to SystemVerilog.
In fact, I have heard this type of FUD being spread to other customers, so I explained that this was simply not true and highlighted all of the recent significant advancements we had made to our Specman solution including Intelligen and the new generation debugger which are technology innovations well beyond anything being offered by any of our competitors. I also explained that over the past couple of years we had not made a lot of noise about Specman/e because our competitors were using that to spread more FUD to customers about Cadence not being serious about SystemVerilog. However, at the end of 2007 when we introduced the OVM for SystemVerilog with Mentor Graphics and effectively took a position of leadership in the SystemVerilog testbench market with the massive adoption of OVM by customers in 2008, this cleared up any doubts about Cadence being a serious player in the SystemVerilog market. For those customers that choose to use SystemVerilog we will provide the best solution by leveraging our Specman technology and expertise from the past 10+ years, but make no mistake, we absolutely are investing in providing the state-of-the-art solution for e users - the number of which continues to grow every year. I made a promise that we were not going to be shy about promoting our Specman e solution anymore.
When I came back to the US, I explained my conversation over beers with this customer, and challenged the Specman Team to make it clear to the world that Cadence is as serious about Specman and e as it is about SystemVerilog. They rose to the challenge and started up the "Team Specman" Blog on the Cadence web-site at the end of last year. This is a really cool blog since it involves many people across Cadence who work on Specman and e from AEs, Core Comp, R&D, and Methodology Engineering. Each week different people from these organizations write technical blogs on all things Specman. They felt this was the best way to connect directly with Specman customers, and also give some transparency into the large number of people at Cadence across the world who are developing or supporting Specman and e-based verification methodology. So, "yes [Michael] there is a Specman" - thanks for hammering on me and if you haven't started reading the Team Specman Blog, you really need to check it out.
In fact, rumor has it that Synopsys monitors this blog closely as they continue to work on bringing their e implementation in VCS to the market... ;-)