CAD Manager's Newsletter (#289)

26 Sep, 2012 By: Robert Green

Improve Your Job Security with Weekly CAD Management Reports

If your senior management team doesn't understand the extent of what you do, they'll undervalue you. Keep them fully informed with concise summaries of your activities.

Over the past several weeks, I've been traveling to speak with many groups of CAD managers, and one concern that has come up repeatedly is job security. One of the best ways to ensure that upper management values your position is to keep them informed about what you do. I've been very surprised by how many CAD managers don't report to their senior management team on a regular basis — an omission that puts their careers at risk!

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll make the case that reporting is a task you should embrace — it's critical to your success. And don't worry, I'll give you some tips to make reporting quick and easy.

Why You Need to Speak Up

Because you are the only CAD manager in your department or company (and most senior management staffs don't understand what you do), there's nobody else who can report on your CAD management tasks. So you only have two choices: You can either report what you do to your management teams, or you can allow them to remain in the dark about your work.

If you fail to inform your management team about your activities, many problems can result. Here are a few:

  • They will believe CAD management is easy. People who don't understand the details of what you do will almost always underestimate how hard your job is. And when users or managers think your job is easy, they'll try to load even more tasks onto you — thereby reducing your effectiveness.
  • They will think CAD management is limited to software. If your management team thinks CAD management is just about software, they're overlooking the many training, support, and standards issues CAD managers deal with. And that means they won't give you the support you need to handle those non-software issues.
  • They will be blind to danger on the horizon. Let's say your company has long put off replacing an old, cranky plotter. If you keep quiet about the risk of a plotting disaster, you'll not only preside over the resulting chaos, you'll also take some of the blame: Management will ask why you never informed anyone.
  • They will think CAD management is all overhead. When your senior management team equates CAD management with overhead, they start to question whether your position is even needed. And when that happens, your job is anything but secure.

If allowed to persist, these impressions will combine to create a negative impression about CAD management in general, and you in particular. Read more »

:: Spreadsheet Template for Weekly CAD Manager Reports

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Try this shortcut to creating informative reports with a minimal time investment.

I believe that a weekly report to your senior management team is one of the best things you can do to illustrate your value as a CAD manager and build credibility. Best of all, you can reap these benefits without investing a lot of time in the process. A concise summary of your weekly activites can be prepared — and read — quickly.

To simplify the reporting process, I've created a sample spreadsheet. Feel free to use this spreadsheet as a modifiable template for your own reports. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at; if I use it in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

Nemetschek Provides Free BIM Course for Structural Engineers
AEC software provider Nemetschek is sponsoring a free course to teach BIM (building information modeling) from the viewpoint of the structural engineer. Participants of the self-paced lab can download class materials free, including an Open BIM instructional guide, lab exercise files, and Scia Engineer 2012 software.

Free GstarCAD Mobile Viewer Reads DWG Files
Gstarsoft has released a free edition of GstarCAD MC (Mobile Client), for use on iPad, iPhone, and Android platforms. GstarCAD MC enables users to check, edit, share, and save drawings on a mobile device. The software now reads DWG files without requiring conversion. Users can download GstarCAD MC from the iTunes App Store.

:: Events

CAD Americas Training Days
Through October 25, 2012
Various cities
At CAD Americas' 2012 training events, users of Autodesk software products can build their professional skills for architecture, manufacturing, civil engineering, Revit, 3D design, or management applications. The product training comprises best practices, tips and tricks, 2013 product features, and more. Read more »

Experience SolidWorks 2013
October 2–19, 2012
Various U.S. cities
At these SolidWorks launch events, Fisher/Unitech representatives will demonstrate the new features of SolidWorks 2013. Read more »

PLM Innovation Americas 2012
October 25–26, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Attendees of this independent event will be able to learn from experts, network with peers, and visit with PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions providers. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Change the F1 Key to Escape
We've all done it while working in AutoCAD — reached for the Escape key and pressed the F1 key by accident, that is. It's so frustrating to be faced with the unwelcome Help function! Follow Lynn Allen's latest tip, and this will never happen to you again. Watch the video »

Vectorworks Updates CAD/BIM Product Line
Version 2013 of the company's design software portfolio improves 3D modeling, rendering, interoperability, BIM (building information modeling) workflows, and overall performance. Read more »

Archaeologists Dig Up New Uses for GIS
Tech Trends: Researchers apply modern technologies in search for ancient relics. Read more »

Vuuch Joins Autodesk Developer Network
Technology that captures informal interactions of product-development stakeholders now integrates directly with AutoCAD and Inventor. Read the blog post »

Renaissance Man
User Profile: Architect Doug Patt pursues many interests — and can't keep what he learns to himself. Read more »

Recommended Hardware for CAD, Part 1:
AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, and Other Autodesk Applications

The answer to, "What CAD hardware should I buy?" always starts in the same place: with the requirements of the CAD software you plan to use. Read the CADspeed Blog post »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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