CAD Manager's Newsletter (#315)

12 Feb, 2014 By: Robert Green

To Manage CAD, Understand Project Deadlines

Align your CAD management tasks to support project deadlines for less stress and smoother project completions.

When I speak with groups of CAD managers I always hear about deadline pressure, and the tone of the conversation is usually one of high frustration. I hear comments such as, "I've got too many things to do" and "Don't they understand how much I'm working?" over and over during these venting sessions. As frustrating as it may be to deal with deadlines, the fact of the matter is that without deadlines, projects would never be completed — and none of us would get a paycheck!

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we'll start a discussion about how to manage deadlines more effectively, and even how to use them to help gain control of your workload. Interested? Here goes.

First, Know the End State

Whether you're attempting to control a project, or just the CAD tasks associated with that project, you must first understand the desired result. In a CAD/building information modeling (BIM) world, the end state of a project might look something like this:

Deadline: June 16, 2014
Work product: Final construction documents delivered to Warsaw Unified School District for Neil Armstrong Elementary School.

At this point you have a date and a rough task description, but you must flesh out the details of the end deliverables. There will be data to gather, and you'll need a strategy for getting the CAD/BIM work done to support the end state. So, where do you go to get all this information, and how will you know what technical issues to plan for?

Know Your Inputs

Project managers and key power users within project work teams usually know all the dates and technical issues that you need to be aware of. However, they're busy people, and you can't count on them to automatically tell you everything; you'll have to draw the information out of them. Here are the types of questions to ask in order to zero in on key pieces of information:

  • Will you need help with key tasks such as creating project standards, training for project users, plotting, etc?
  • Will you need any new hardware, software, or configurations to meet the technical requirements of the project?
  • Are there any partial deadlines that must be met as the project progresses?
  • Will there be any data translations required at project turnover?

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Find CAD Training Resources on YouTube

Have you searched YouTube for CAD training tools lately? If you haven't, you should! You'll be amazed at what you find.

Of course you can always search Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or another search engine for CAD training resources, but then you'll have to wade through a bunch of web sites to find examples of video-based training resources. I've found that by going directly to YouTube and inputting the name of the software application in question plus the word "training," you'll zero in on training content providers, vendors, and even amateur training resources you can use to construct a CAD training strategy. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip 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!


:: Resources

BIMobject Offers Free BIM Apps
BIMobject apps, which are available for ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Revit, and SketchUp, are free for download to those who register. The apps integrate the BIMobject Portal directly into the various design programs, so users can browse, filter, and download building information modeling (BIM) objects that are based on real BIM products. Some BIMobject apps are available for both Mac and PC platforms.

:: Events

GPU Technology Conference 2014
March 24–27, 2014
San Jose, California
Along with opportunities to learn how to harness the latest graphics processing unit (GPU) technology, this conference will offer face-to-face interaction with industry luminaries and NVIDIA experts. Read more »

SPAR International
April 14–17, 2014
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The 11th annual SPAR International conference will introduce attendees to the latest tools and information for using the newest 3D technologies to drive efficiency and mitigate risk. Read more »

Spring 2014 BIMForum
April 23–24, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts
This spring forum will focus on design and engineering to showcase the best examples of collaboration, optimization, and sustainability. 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

AutoCAD's In-Canvas Viewport Controls, Part 2
If you work in 3D, you should be using AutoCAD's in-canvas viewport controls to quickly navigate around your drawing. In this sequel to the previous video, Lynn Allen demonstrates how to quickly change your viewing angle or visual style and jump from saved view to saved view in no time. Watch the video »

SolidWorks World 2014, Part 1: Software on Stage
At the annual user conference, Dassault Systèmes customers get to see what's in store for SolidWorks — and more. Read more »

Cadalyst Announces Leadership Changes
Cyrena Respini-Irwin promoted to editor in chief as Nancy Spurling Johnson takes on new role as content director. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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