CAD Manager's Newsletter (#298)

10 Apr, 2013 By: Robert Green

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Don't Get Caught in the Tool Worship Trap

In your quest to gain management support for new software, begin with a lesson in reality.

Well, it's spring, and you know what that means: new software releases! This time of year, it seems as if all the software developers are releasing new products and touting their new capabilities. And although CAD managers and power users look forward to new software releases with a Christmas-morning zeal, our senior management staffs rarely seem to share our enthusiasm.

In the next couple of issues of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll shed some light on why management teams dislike new software and how you can overcome those negative attitudes, gain approval for the upgrades you need, and integrate the new software into your office culture more smoothly. Here goes.

Plus ça Change

An old French expression goes, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." It means, "The more things change, the more they are the same." The saying exactly describes the attitudes of senior management about new CAD software that I've observed since my first job as a CAD manager back in 1989. Here's the push-back I hear every time:

  • "We've spent all this money on software, but we aren't executing projects any better" or, "We just aren't getting the productivity we thought we would."
  • "It takes us way too long to implement new software."
  • "Many users are dragging their feet on using new software technology."

In 1989, complaints were about migrating to AutoCAD and MicroStation, whereas today they are about transitioning to 3D or other game-changing softrware, but the sentiment is exactly the same.

If you look closely, you'll begin to realize that these complaints seem more focused at the CAD manager and users rather than the software itself. You can almost hear someone saying, "We've got the new software yet it isn't working like we expected, and it can't possibly be the software's fault." Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Persistence is Critical

The path to CAD management success demands focus and dogged determination.

You all know the old fable about the tortoise and the hare — the story that took a long time to make the point that steady progress and focus on the task at hand will ultimately win out over haste or impatience. CAD management is much more like the tortoise than the hare, in my experience.

Successful CAD managers are persistent and unwavering. They understand that significant change doesn't happen in a week or a month, but often in years — especially when you can't devote yourself full-time to CAD management! Read more »

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

:: Resources

Cometdocs Offers Free File Conversion and Storage
Cometdocs is an online document-management service that offers file conversion from PDF to AutoCAD format in addition to file transfer and storage. The free service supports a 30-MB maximum file size for conversion and a 100-MB limit for transferring and hosting. Premium service is available for larger files.

:: Events

Top Reasons Why Multi-CAD Management Fails
April 18, 2013
11 a.m. ET
This webinar, presented by Aras, will delve into the leading causes why multi-CAD file management systems fail, and offer practical solutions for achieving success. Read more »

3D Scanning for CAD
April 30, 2013
11 a.m. PT
This NextEngine webinar will show attendees how to create usable models for CAD programs such as SolidWorks, Creo, and Inventor. Read more »

Bentley LEARNing Conference
May 13–16, 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Exclusively for Bentley LEARN subscribers, this conference comprises hundreds of workshops and lecture sessions. 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

Take 3D CAD Survey; Enter to Win Cadalyst Subscription
In today's highly competitive manufacturing market, 3D modeling can be a key to success. But are you tapping all its potential? How do you compare with your competition? Take the 15-minute 3D Collaboration and Interoperability Survey from Lifecycle Insights. You'll receive a copy of the report, and we'll automatically enter your name in a drawing on April 29 to win an annual subscription to Cadalyst magazine ($44 value; U.S. delivery only).

New Tool Automatically Tunes Dell Workstations
Free Dell Precision Performance Optimizer currently supports SolidWorks, PTC Creo, and Autodesk Maya. Read more »

NVIDIA GRID Appliance Designed to Speed 3D Modeling, Rendering for SMBs
New turnkey system can simultaneously support as many as 16 users of Autodesk Design Suites, SolidWorks, and Adobe Creative Suite. Read more »

Femap Tips and Tricks: Assign Shortcut Keys to Custom Programs in Femap
Save time by performing a repeated sequence of commands with just a couple of keystrokes. Read more »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Create Custom Autodesk Inventor Part Templates
Instead of starting from scratch whenever you need a common part, save yourself some modeling time with custom templates. Read more »

Bentley Systems Achieves 2012 Growth Target
Despite a sluggish global economy, the infrastructure solutions developer continues to expand, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Read more »

Customize AutoCAD through Programming
Learn how to search for text and modify layers with Visual Studio.NET. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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