General Software

New Software — Is It a Go?

28 Mar, 2012 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Which new releases are worth the time and money to implement?

It is finally springtime, and you know what that means: new software releases! As a CAD manager you’ll be one of the first to evaluate new software programs, and you’ll be peppered with questions from users and managers alike.

So what is the best process for evaluating new and/or updated software? Here’s a basic checklist I’ve used for years that continues to serve me well:

  • Read! Read web sites, read blogs, read anything you can find about the new software just to get ahead of the curve in terms of new features. The more you know before you get the software, the easier it’ll be to evaluate.
  • What’s new? Focus on examining the highly touted new features in the release, and in each case ask yourself the question, “Does this feature help us do things better?”
  • What’s streamlined? What functions that you use all the time have been improved or streamlined? In other words, are there any opportunities for your users to save "clicks and picks"?
  • How different does it feel? Will your users be confused by new features? Will adjusting to a new interface require a substantial learning period? Show the new software to a few trusted users, and take note of their feelings on these issues.

Now consider what you’ve learned, and ask yourself this key question: “Based on what I’ve found, will this new release save us enough time, clicks, and picks to pay for its installation and training in the next year?”

If you answered No, then you may want to skip the release in favor of optimizing the software and procedures you already have in place. If you answered Yes, then you can start the detailed analysis and planning required to implement the software. Either way, you’ll be moving forward with a detailed knowledge of the technology available to you so you can speak to users and managers with confidence. And if you're looking for a more detailed examination of this evaluation process, see "The Minimalist's Guide to CAD Software Upgrade Decisions."

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!

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen guides you through a different AutoCAD feature in every edition of her popular "Circles and Lines" tutorial series. For even more AutoCAD how-to, check out Lynn's quick tips in the Cadalyst Video Gallery. Subscribe to Cadalyst's free Tips & Tools Weekly e-newsletter and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!
Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn on Twitter

Which factor is most important in your selection of a mouse or other input device for CAD use?
Wireless connectivity
3D capability
Programmability/extra buttons
Size/portability/desktop footprint
I just use whatever came with my workstation/was provided by my employer
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst, Fall 2015

Get Your Free Issue of Cadalyst Magazine!