CAD Manager's Newsletter (#333)

12 Nov, 2014 By: Robert Green

Change Happens

Change is inevitable, so how can you make it easier to manage?

Change, especially in our technical environment, is something we CAD managers always have to plan for, but how can we best do so? As I pondered change management, I started to think about all the responsibilities of a CAD manager — not just software maintenance — and how they all change over time. How do we plan for these changes and keep maximum control over the process?

I've developed an approach to change management that I've been using with clients for about a year now that I'd like to share with you as well. My approach should help you better understand how to prioritize your duties and improve your CAD environment over the long term. Here goes.

The Change Paradox

When I started thinking about technical change, two conflicting yet equally true sayings came to mind:

The only thing that is constant is change.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. (A French phrase that means, "The more things change, the more they stay the same.")

The first quote tells us to always expect change while the second tells us that things really don't change. So, which one is right? Well, perhaps they are both right. For example, the software I use has changed tremendously over the years, but the process of implementing software really hasn't. So, things have changed, yet they really haven't.

Task/Change Chart

It turns out that by dividing your workload into tasks that change rapidly (or hardly at all) and considering how often those tasks are required in your day-to-day environment, a greater understanding of your workload emerges. A great way to visualize these priorities is to construct a radar (spider) chart with all your tasks, frequency of need, and frequency of change, such as the one below.

A radar chart can help CAD managers visualize priorities.
A radar chart can help CAD managers visualize priorities.

I based this data on my own analysis of the tasks I perform on an ongoing basis (project management, training, and user software support) and less frequently (user hardware support and software updates). I've also determined how much my processes have to change over time to perform these tasks.

You can create your own radar chart (or bar chart) using Microsoft Excel or you can simply scribble it out on paper, but do take the time to think about it. Now, let's draw some conclusions. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

CAD Manager's Emergency Checklist

What would happen to you if disaster struck your business next week or next month? Would you be ready? What if a server room was vandalized or your business was gutted by fire?

These questions provoke a sober response for many of us, but they needn't be so troubling if we're ready. What should you do to be ready for a disaster from a CAD manager's point of view? This list (and some justifications for each item) should help you prepare: Read more »

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

:: Resources

Global BIM Market Report Identifies Growth Areas, Challenges
A new market report published by Research and Markets points to improvement in quality control and productivity as a major driver in today's building information modeling (BIM) market. According to "Global BIM Market 2014–2018" ($2,000 for single-user electronic file), BIM's major challenges include a lack of expertise and the high cost of training.

Free Ebook Offers Tips for 3D Professionals
A new, free ebook from 3Dconnexion offers tips for 3D professionals who want to improve their creativity through habits, tools, and hacks. The Creativity Handbook for 3D Professionals explains how to cultivate a creative mindset; explores the habits used by highly creative people; lists ways to hack your biology to enhance creativity; and more.

:: Events

Creating a BIM Deliverable from a Point Cloud
November 13, 2014
1 p.m. ET
This webinar, presented by Spar Point Group, will discuss best practices for how to model with point clouds in Autodesk Revit. Read more »

Adelaide Autodesk Tech Day with Lynn Allen
November 14, 2014
Thebarton, South Australia
Redstack will sponsor this free event in which architects, designers, engineers, manufacturers, and executives can network, improve job skills, and learn about the latest technology trends. Read more »

Protect Your PCB Design Intellectual Property
November 19, 2014
10 a.m. CT
This Zuken webinar will demonstrate how to use permissions controls to automatically protect intellectual property in printed circuit board (PCB) designs. Read more »

Construction Technology Forecast: Harnessing Integration, Mobile, Sensors, and Augmented Reality
December 2, 2014
2 p.m. ET
Associated General Contractors (ACG) of America will present this webinar, the cost of which is $99 for ACG members and $129 for nonmembers. 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

Aconex Launches Connected BIM Product for Model-Based Collaboration
New release extends cloud-based platform to manage building information modeling (BIM) project data. Read more »

User Profile: The Unstoppable Designer
Matt Rifenburg's career is proof that passion, determination, and the willingness to take on new challenges can overcome many obstacles. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Does Thunderbolt I/O Have a Place in CAD Workstations?
The input/output technology supports fast, expandable storage for big datasets — but what other value does it have for CAD users? Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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