CAD Manager's Newsletter (#299)

24 Apr, 2013 By: Robert Green

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Don't Get Caught in the Tool Worship Trap,
Part 2

In your discussions with upper management, don't get distracted by the new software's appealing features — focus on how it will impact users and processes.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I pondered why so many upper management teams think that new CAD tools will solve all their problems like a magic elixir. I also offered some suggestions about how to overcome the psychology of tool worship using what I call "mission logic": focusing on the specific business objective that the new software will help your company overcome. If you haven't had a chance to read through that column, I suggest that you do so now to have the proper context for this discussion.

In this edition, we'll complete our examination of tool worship and I'll provide more guidance about how you can logically address other key software implementation functions including IT, training, user team organization, and project execution. Here goes.

Before Anything Else: The Pilot Project

It stands to reason that it is easier to implement a new piece of software with a few users than with many. Before rolling out software to the entire company, I always prefer to investigate how a new piece of software will perform by crafting a well-defined pilot project.

What sort of information do I aim to capture with this pilot project? At minimum, the following:

  • How do my pilot team users like the software?
  • Is the pilot team able to use the software effectively?
  • How much training time does it take to learn the software?
  • Can the pilot team deliver a final design with the software?
  • Did the new software disrupt existing work processes?
  • How long did all this take us?

When I start putting together a pilot project, my management often asks me, "Why should we bother with a pilot project? Shouldn't this new software just work?" My response is always, "Well, if there are problems, wouldn't we rather find them on a small job that impacts only a few users?"

There have been a few times where I've been pressured into implementing a new software tool to a broad audience without a pilot project — and I've always come to regret it! Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Get Help with Your CAD Management To-Do List

Do you ever find yourself wanting to conduct a training program but lacking the time? Do you need to revamp your PDF management procedures but can't figure out how to tweak the drivers you have? CAD management comprises a variety of tasks that are always difficult to coordinate, but become even more challenging when you also have project pressures.

Let me pose a couple of questions:

  • Who says you have to do it all?
  • Why not outsource some of your CAD management load via clever technology purchasing?

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

ASCENT Releases Autodesk 2014 Training Guides
ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge has released new Autodesk Official Training Guides for Autodesk 2014 software. The 10 training guides provide instruction for classroom settings, self-study, and as references for continuous use. Users can purchase the guides directly from the ASCENT online store.

:: Events

OpenRoads Technology: Immersive Modeling Parametric Design
April 25, 2013
1 p.m. ET
This online event will show how Bentley SELECTseries 3 technology combines traditional engineering workflows of plan, profile, and cross-sections with 3D modeling technology. 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 »

CAD Americas Training Days – Cleveland
June 4, 2013
Strongsville, Illinois
CAD Americas delivers topical, lecture-style training to the Autodesk community in the areas of AutoCAD, Revit, Civil3D, Inventor, CAD management, and other Autodesk products and disciplines. Training Days will also be offered in other cities across the United States; see the website for a full list of locations. 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).

Cyon Research Wants to Know About Your CAD Use
Cyon Research, organizer of the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), has launched its 2013 Survey of Users of Engineering Software. The 40-minute survey aims to gauge your current use of and criteria for CAD and other engineering software. Read more »

Epson SureColor T5000
First Look Review: Superb print quality and an excellent price are highlights of company's first wide-format printer for CAD market. Read more »

Webcast: Kick-Start Your CAD Workflow with 3D Scanning
Today's surveyors, engineers, and CAD technicians have access to laser-scanning tools that are as powerful as they are user friendly in their ability to process point-cloud data and significantly improve today's 3D CAD workflows. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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