Product Design

CAD Manager's Q & A: Succeeding with 3D, Part 1

13 Feb, 2007 By: Robert Green

We're rolling out 3D software in my company now and users are coming around to the new way of design. What kinds of items should I be concerned about now and how can I avoid making post-implementation errors in this new 3D world?

Robert Green replies: Good question. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that once 3D software is installed and users being using it, you're not done with implementation -- you're really just beginning. To that end here are a few pointers I've found by trial and error that have worked for me.

Make everyone aware of your focus. Making users, managers, vendors and customers aware that the transition to 3D design processes is an ongoing task shows your intention to stay on the job. Simply sending this message says a lot about your commitment to seeing the implementation through to a successful conclusion.

Keep training. As soon as people start using the new software, they'll start making mistakes and they'll start asking more detailed questions. If you simply let the implementation drift, you'll allow bad habits to ultimately form and perpetuate themselves. An ongoing training program helps mitigate these problems.

Train in short bursts. Consider a weekly lunch-and-learn or short briefing session for 3D software users who want to learn more. When you get the questions out in the open and solve them in a collaborative environment, everyone is much more likely to accept the methods you teach them. The key to this approach is to be ruthlessly focused on solving problems quickly.

Update your standards as you go. As you find new problems and solutions, document what you find and append your CAD standards. I suggest making these changes during or right after your training sessions so you capture the knowledge before you forget it.

I'll continue the answer to this question by giving you some more hints in the next newsletter.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green