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Product Design

CAD Manager's Q&A: Adopting a 3D Culture

9 Jan, 2007 By: Robert Green


My management is pushing me to adopt a 3D system like Autodesk Revit or Civil 3D, but they don't understand how much work is involved, and I feel like I'm getting steamrolled. What can I do to manage the situation?

Robert Green replies: This is a question I'm hearing more and more as senior management teams decide that they want to reap the benefits of advanced 3D design methodologies. Unfortunately, there’s no button we can push to make this happen.

The key thing to realize in this situation is that you're no longer arguing about moving to 3D and waiting to get permission -- you've finally got the permission. The problem you're now experiencing is with changing a 2D culture to a 3D culture, and that is not an easy process. To make management understand what you're up against, I advise the following:

  • Do your homework on the 3D system in question and report to management about how you see the software working in your environment (so management understands that you know what you're talking about).
  • Gather estimates on startup time and training costs (so management knows the transition won't be free or terribly fast).
  • Start talking about the transition with every user and project leader you can and let them know what you've learned so far (so they'll start thinking about the impact).
  • Stand back and watch while everyone around you starts to talk about how they don't have time to undertake the big switch to 3D (while you channel their feedback to your management team).

When you follow this process, your management will see that changing the design culture will be harder than they thought and, most importantly, that it will require some time and managerial backing to make it happen. Try it. It works!


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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