CAD Manager's Newsletter (#352)

23 Sep, 2015 By: Robert Green

Prevent Workload Overload with Project Prioritization Strategies

Make sure your priorities are structured around project completion.

We've all been in this situation before: Your task list is overflowing, and new requests keep pouring in. Your boss wants even more from you, but if you keep committing yourself to additional projects, you're bound to fail. It's the classic CAD management conundrum.

So, the question becomes: How do you prioritize your workload so that you address the most important tasks first, while pushing the noncritical tasks to the bottom of the list — and determining which items don't merit any of your time at all? In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some of the methods I use to prioritize workloads with my clients, in hopes that they will work for you as well. Here goes.

It All Comes Down to Deadlines

The first step is to realize that what you really manage are deadlines.

Some CAD managers say they manage software, plotters, users, and training, but in reality, the only reason to do any of that is to complete projects. As we all know, projects have deadlines that must be met, so managing to meet deadlines is of paramount importance. Don't believe me? Just try missing a deadline and see what happens.

To keep deadlines at the forefront of my mind, I sort all my tasks in the context of how they support project execution and deadlines. By doing so, I can immediately filter between tasks that are necessary, those with lower priority, and those that would be nice, but aren't essential. I then think about each task in terms of when it must be done and how much effort it will take me to complete it. When you approach tasking in this way, priorities are much easier to establish and your work schedule falls into place. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

Task Management Spreadsheet

This sample spreadsheet can help you track your CAD management tasks and create prioritized lists and status reports.

You'll find this useful for maintaining your own sanity, as well as for documenting your workload in a way your boss will approve of. A key metric is the Project Deadline column, which prioritizes tasks tied to project completions ahead of other tasks.

Download the spreadsheet from my website using this link: Just replace the boilerplate dates, work hours, and contact person I've inserted with your own and re-sort as needed, then print a report. The spreadsheet is protected to prevent inadvertent inputs.

Task Management Spreadsheet

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!

:: Events

11th Annual COMSOL Conference
October 7–9, 2015
Boston, Massachusetts
This COMSOL user conference focuses on advancing cross-discipline simulation and application design via the company's multiphysics modeling software. Read more »

Northern California Bentley Bash
October 16–17, 2015
Sacramento and Berkeley, California
This two-day, hands-on training event organized by Archway Systems and local Bentley Systems user groups will enable users to test out new Bentley products, get a refresher on techniques, and see the changes in recent updates. Read more »

Revit Technology Conference Europe 2015
October 29–31, 2015
Budapest, Hungary
Those who attend the third European RTC will learn from the experts and leave with knowledge, practical methods, and new ideas. Read more »

Autodesk University 2015
December 1–3, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University is the U.S. conference for users of Autodesk software in a range of professions and industries that include design, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and digital arts. 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: A CAD Dinosaur's Journey into Modern Times
Sometimes change is hard, but when you're talking about upgrading CAD software and changing to a state-of-the-art professional workstation, it is worth it. Cadalyst's original blog series follows Patrick Hughes, machine designer and owner of Engineered Design Solutions, as he moves from using AutoCAD Release 14 on an outdated PC to AutoCAD 2015 on a new professional workstation. Download our free e-book and find out how this CAD dinosaur finds his way in the 21st century. Read more »

Server-Hosted Workstations for CAD
Find out more about Intel's integrated graphics technology and how it can help speed up your design process. Cadalyst contributor, Robert Green, delves into the intricacies of server-hosted workstations for CAD in a four-part series on our CADspeed blog. Find out what Intel GVT is, how users may react to new technology and what can IT do to prepare, how CAD works on GVT, and then finally we'll dig into the financial aspects of implementing this technology. Read more »

HP Confirms Support for CAD Printing with New Wide-Format Models
In an age of cloud-connected devices and high-end CAD analysis, will we keep plotting to large-format paper? HP thinks so — and its new PageWide XL 5000 and XL 8000 printers are the proof. Read more »

To Catch More Design Ideas, Siemens PLM Software Crafts a Tool Anyone Can Use
The new Catchbook app makes dimensionally accurate sketching accessible — and affordable — for CAD users and nonprofessionals alike. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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