The Peer-to-Peer CAD Manager

8 Jan, 2014 By: Robert Green

Even if you lack the official title, you can still positively influence your workplace if you make the most of interacting with your users.

One of the most frequent conversations I have with CAD managers revolves around serving as a CAD manager in an unofficial capacity. That means facing all the day-to-day challenges of CAD management, but without the benefits of the title — or the authority to do the job.

To help those who are caught in this predicament, I've been thinking about strategies for CAD management conducted solely via peer interactions. In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll pass along some ideas for "peer-to-peer CAD managers" that I've used personally. Here goes.

Be the Go-To Resource

There's an old saying that people only go to a well where there's water. The CAD management analogue to this saying is: Users only to go a CAD manager who knows how to solve their problems. Establishing your technical credibility by making sure your peers understand your expertise is the number-one way to achieve CAD management success, be it peer-driven or not.

Remember, your upper management team will not advertise your skills, so it's entirely up to you to do so. And since they also aren't empowering you with a formal CAD management role, you'll need to do your advertising in a way that requires no authority (and very likely, no budget). Let's take the plunge by exploring some possible methodologies.

User Groups

Wouldn't it be great if you could share tips, ideas, and time-saving work methods with other power users in your company? Furthermore, wouldn't it be great if you could do so in an unofficial way, without time pressures? Of course it would! But how can you pull it off? By creating a user group, that's how.

Start your user group meetings as a potluck lunch break once a month, and ask attendees to come prepared to share their best tips and tricks. Don't feel pressured to do anything other than organize the meeting and encourage people to come share their knowledge. Even if it doesn't seem like anything much comes from these meetings, you will have brought users closer together and helped them become more efficient in their work.

Of course, creating a user group will require some time and effort on your part, but the benefit that you'll receive in terms of user trust and leadership credibility can be invaluable. And if your management team sees you take on leadership initiatives, they'll be more likely to think of you when advancement opportunities arise!

Start a Suggestion Box

As a peer-to-peer CAD manager, you may not have the power to impose new standards or procedures on everyone else, but you can still ask those around you for better ways to do things.

As part of your user group exercise, create a CAD suggestion box so any CAD user in the company can propose process improvements — and watch the ideas roll in. You can then volunteer to sort through the suggestions and see which ones should be considered by the company. Using this method, you'll get other users to think about doing CAD/building information modeling (BIM) better, and you'll be viewed as their trusted sounding board.

By the way, I recommend that all CAD managers use the suggestion box methodology, simply because you can never have too many good ideas!

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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