CAD Manager's Newsletter (#323)

10 Jun, 2014 By: Robert Green

Project Kickoff Meeting: Your Secret Weapon for Success

Establish ground rules and responsibilities before a project begins to minimize managerial challenges along the way.

In the past three editions of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I've focused on how technical trends such as portable computing devices and cloud software services have changed how CAD managers and users do our jobs. In fact, the degree of change I've observed in the last few years is staggering.

What amazes me, though, is how many CAD managers have become so wrapped up in new technology challenges that they've forgotten about an old-fashioned secret weapon that can tip the managerial balance back in our favor: the project kickoff meeting. In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll focus on how you can use this classic technique in new ways to help manage tough new challenges in your environment. Here goes.

Too Busy to Be Organized?

It seems as if everyone is so busy running around trying to execute projects that few of us take the time to get those projects started correctly — a mistake that can cost us as projects get rolling. There's an old axiom that asks, "Why do we have time to do things twice, but not right the first time?" Perhaps you've even asked yourself this question!

The project kickoff meeting helps you do things right the first time, and I submit that the need for project kickoff coordination today is far greater than it ever has been.

It used to be that our CAD tools were a given and the main challenge of any project was getting everyone to agree on project standards. Now we have to think about much more, such as:

  • remote offices,
  • traveling and mobile workers,
  • cloud-based IT issues,
  • file format issues for viewers, and more.

Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Project Kickoff Questionnaire

As a companion piece to the article, "Project Kickoff Meeting: Your Secret Weapon for Success" (above), use this sample questionnaire to get project input from your extended CAD team. As mentioned in the article, it is the goal of the project kickoff meeting to answer all pertinent questions about the CAD practices for a project so that work can proceed smoothly. My goal with this questionnaire is to find out things from my CAD team that I haven't thought of.

Here then is a sample list of questions you can use to start the conversation:

  • Are there any problems with our CAD tools we need to solve before this project begins?
  • Are there any issues with how we do projects (such as workflow) that we should address before starting a new project?
  • Are there any IT issues (permissions, cloud applications, etc.) that are causing problems for you?
  • Have you heard anything about the new project that concerns you?
  • Is there any training or coordination we need to undertake before the new project starts?

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!


:: Events

ESRI International User Conference 2014
July 14–18, 2014
San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California
This conference for GIS professionals promises five days of innovative best practices, inspirational tech demos, and hands-on learning. Read more »

Advanced Design and Manufacturing Impact Forum 2014
August 17–20, 2014
Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center
Buffalo, New York
Presenters of this four-day event will discuss opportunities that will help participants realize the full potential of advanced manufacturing solutions. Read more »

Global Product Data Interoperability Summit 2014
September 8–11, 2014
Phoenix, Arizona
The GPDIS aims to assist industry principals to foster knowledge through the exchange of ideas, solutions, and methods and to build consensus for tool and process standards in the industry. Read more »

Designers of Things 2014
September 23–24, 2014
San Francisco, California
Designers of Things is a new conference produced by UBM Tech that is dedicated to the revolutionary potential of Wearable Tech, 3D Printing, and the Internet of Things. Read more »

PLM Road Map 2014
October 2, 2014
The Inn at St. John's
Plymouth, Michigan
This twenty-first annual event will bring together product lifecycle management (PLM) industry experts from CIMdata, key industry players, and front-line implementation experts. 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

Free E-Book: Engineering Survival Guide
What does the future hold for engineers? One thing we know for sure: It will change! A free 40-page e-book from Lifecycle Insights, Engineering Manager's Survival Guide, outlines the trends and technologies that are shaping engineering and what you can do to support your future in the field. To get it, simply complete this 15-minute survey on the use of 3D across the enterprise.

Herrera on Hardware: Is Cloud-based CAD Ready for Primetime? Part 1
Centralized, server-side graphical computing technology is on the upswing. Should you care where your computer is? Read more »

Fix Broken References with Autodesk Vault 2014 Reference Repair Utility
Find broken references between files in Autodesk Vault, and use the Autodesk Reference Repair Utility to repair them. Watch the video »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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