Product Design

CAD Manager's Q&A: Succeeding with 3D, Part 2

27 Feb, 2007 By: Robert Green

We're rolling out 3D software in my company 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: I started the answer to this question in the February 14 edition of CAD Manager's Newsletter. I'll continue my answer now with some ways to handle the user aspects of implementing 3D.

When you implement 3D software you can see a big shift in user attitudes. Some users will welcome the challenge while others may feel threatened by such profound change. Handling the positives and negatives properly can really help keep your implementation on track.  Here are the ways I deal with both ends of the user spectrum:

Reward those who make the switch well and challenge them. There's nothing wrong with recognizing users who made great strides in educating themselves. You can get creative by giving away gift cards or an iPod as a way of saying "nice job" to users who've achieved a lot in such a short time. At the same time, challenge these users with mentoring those who aren't picking up the 3D software as well. By turning your best and brightest into junior CAD managers and power tutors, you'll build everyone's skills, keep everyone more motivated and keep yourself sane at the same time.

Do not let negatives fester. If you have a group of users who don't want to change and are thus demonstrating a negative attitude toward your 3D implementation, you must intervene and handle the situation promptly. Frequently when discontented users are left on their own, they will not learn the new software and will continue to spread negative thoughts throughout the company. And believe me when I say that negatives that are left unchallenged will fester and become a bigger problem over time. So go out of your way to challenge those who don't like the software by confronting their problems and hooking them up with mentors (as defined above) or even assigning special training/projects that force them to use the new software.

I continue to believe that implementing 3D software is as much psychological as it is technical. By managing the users that exhibit the best and worst moods constructively, you can minimize negatives and really harness the power of those who've mastered 3D early.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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