CAD Manager's Newsletter (#234)

23 Feb, 2010 By: Robert Green

Win Over Your Users

As a CAD Manager, getting the hearts and minds of your users on your side will make your job easier, and your efforts more effective.

CAD managers are often charged with controlling user behavior. You may find yourself having to impose standards, create training programs, resolve problems, coordinate between departments, or any manner of other tasks that involve dealing with the CAD users in your company. And as many of you have discovered, coordinating a diverse group of users with varied priorities is not easy.

So how can you not only deal with your company's CAD users, but win them over and make them your fans? This is the question we'll explore in the next two issues of the CAD Manager's Newsletter. Here goes.

Examining User Interaction

Let's start the conversation about winning over your users with a few questions, some of which you may have already asked yourself. As I propose my answers to these questions, I hope to provoke you into thinking about your own answers as well.

Can you make all users happy all the time? No. It just isn't realistic to believe that you can make everything perfect for everyone all the time. And if you do strive to create a utopia for your users, you'll become frustrated and discouraged as you realize it can't be done.

Should you strive to make most users happy most of the time? Absolutely! If you succeed in creating an environment that most users enjoy working in, you'll notice less arguing about standards, better productivity, and lower error rates — all things that you want anyway, right?

Can you provide technical solutions to user problems that will allow the users to get their jobs done faster? Typically, yes. Simple customization, job-specific tools, templates, and automated procedures are just a few ways that you can leverage CAD technology to achieve time savings. And usually, when users finish their work faster, they're happier! Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Cheat Sheets

Paper-based lists can do more than provide a handy reminder at the grocery store — they can give your users quick access to frequently used information

Do you sometimes scribble down information on a notepad so you can refer to it while you're on the phone? Ever make a handwritten grocery list and shove it in your pocket so you won't forget the pasta sauce? Of course you have; we all use "cheat sheets" to remember things.

My thinking is that if cheat sheets come in handy in daily life, they should work really well in the office for your CAD users, too — despite the fact that in this computer age, paper lists are frowned upon. Admittedly, what I'm giving you here is more a tip than a tool, but it is nonetheless a helpful aid you can leverage in your day-to-day CAD management environment.

Creating a Cheat Sheet

I typically create my cheat sheets in Microsoft Word, simply because it is so easy to control the size and fonts, but I've heard some people swear that using Excel is easier for aligning columns. I'll let you decide which tool to use, based on your own preferences. Here's the recipe for what comes next. Read more »


Do you have a helpful tip or item for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at If I use your tip in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

:: Resources

IEEE Updates Xplore Digital Library
Technical professional association IEEE has added a new user interface and customizable search tools to the Xplore digital library, a collection of IEEE's more than two million documents of research. New features include an enhanced search engine, advanced search mode, institutional branding for customers, and expanded online support. Individual users and organizations can subscribe to library access at various levels; a free trial is also available.

CAD Spaghetti Relaunched as iCAD
Business Advantage, a market research consulting firm, has rebranded CAD Spaghetti, one of its electronic publications. The e-newsletter — now known as iCAD — is intended for the global CAD vendor community, and focuses on short, research-driven articles about the key marketing issues concerning the global technical computing sector.

ACM SIGGRAPH Publishes 3D Production White Paper
The ACM SIGGRAPH (Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) Computer Graphics Quarterly published a white paper in its February 2010 issue focusing on StudioGPU MachStudioT Pro software. The white paper, "Ending the Tradeoff of Time vs. Quality when Creating 3D Computer Graphics Content — Stepping Up the Production Workflow with Real-Time Rendering Software," addresses streamlining 3D workflow and rendering pipelines with non-linear real-time technology. Author Alex Herrera, senior analyst at Jon Peddie Research, also discusses the use of real-time 3D workflow and rendering technology to eliminate productivity bottlenecks across a variety of industries, including architectural design, game development, visual effects, advertising, and feature film creation.

:: Events

San Francisco Revit Users Group: Curtain Wall Forum
March 10, 2010
San Francisco, California
All curtain wall aficionados and detractors are invited to join a moderated discussion regarding this powerful tool. Read more »

ESI Global Forum 2010
May 19–20, 2010
Munich, Germany
Designed for ESI customers worldwide, ESI Global Forum 2010 provides a unique opportunity to share best practices, challenges, and successes in virtual prototyping. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2010
September 28–29, 2010
Plymouth, Michigan
Presentations will cover mechatronics, transforming PLM into a dynamic infrastructure for business decisions, optimizing processes for the extended enterprise across the full product lifecycle, critical issues in simulation, and requirements-driven product development. Read more »


For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Tell Cadalyst About Your Favorite Freebie and You Could Win!
Do you have a favorite free software tool? Send your favorites to Cadalyst! Tell us where you got it and why you like it. If we publish your suggestion in our upcoming feature article, we'll send you a Cadalyst T-shirt. Plus, two lucky winners will also receive a copy of Cadalyst magazine Winter 2010 edition signed by Autodesk technical evangelist Lynn Allen!

Vancouver Shares Data Stores
This Olympic host city has garnered golden results with its efforts to make maps, orthophotos, and other GIS information accessible to everyone. Read more »

SolidWorks World 2010: Clouds, Macs, Movie Making, and More
Event report: The annual user conference drew 5,000 to see and hear what's happening and what's ahead for the 3D mechanical CAD platform. Read more »

Graebert Launches First Native CAD Solution for Windows, Mac, and Linux
ARES offers AutoCAD compatibility, familiar UI, full customization, and 3D support for $495 to $995 on three native desktop platforms, with mobile versions to come. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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