CAD Manager's Newsletter (#358)

26 Jan, 2016 By: Robert Green

The CAD Manager's 2016 Playbook

To navigate the challenges of the coming year, you'll need a strategy — so start planning now.

In the previous issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we examined some potential software and market trends for 2016. In this issue, we'll expand upon a few of these predicted trends — particularly cloud resistance and the slowing of upgrades — by giving you a playbook for dealing with the possible side effects of each.

Let's have a look at coping strategies I think may be especially helpful in the coming year, along with some specific recommendations you may want to use in your CAD management environment. Here goes.

Practice Defensive CAD Management

While it is always tempting to think of all the new and different things you'd like to do in the future, the pragmatic CAD manager should always take care to make sure things don't get worse. This defensive position is well warranted if you think about the following questions:

  • What happens if you stop enforcing standards?
  • What happens if you stop training users?
  • What happens if you ignore filing/security issues?

It doesn't take a genius to recognize that if you don't maintain these three crucial points of focus, projects can become problematic, individual productivity can slide, and data can be lost or stolen. So although these three core areas of CAD management — standards, training, and security — may not be the most compelling or interesting topics to work on, they are critically important to the success of your company.

Recommendation: Be sure you have procedures in place to deal with standards problems, as well as filing/security issues, so you can respond immediately when a problem comes up. I like to think of these types of procedures like a fire extinguisher: The time to get one and learn how to use it is before a fire breaks out.

Recommendation: Have some sort of training plan in place, even if it's just for an hour or two per month. In your curriculum, stress the critical importance of basic issues such as standards and file security.

Get a Mobile Device / Cloud Game Plan

As forecast in my 2016 predictions, this year we should see much more senior management attention focused on the risk of data loss/hacking. Since one of the easiest ways to hack information is via use/abuse of mobile devices connected to cloud services, you need to ask the following questions:

  • What risks are we taking by not controlling mobile devices?
  • Do any cloud applications we run have security flaws?
  • What happens if a rogue employee uses a mobile device or cloud-based account to steal data?
  • How can we control file editing and revision with mobile devices or cloud services?

If your organization hasn't answered all these questions, then you're at risk! Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox

What Matters Most to You?

Would you like to see a specific topic covered in the CAD Manager's Newsletter? I always strive to focus my columns on topics that are important to you and your fellow CAD managers, but I need your input to know what matters the most in your workplace.

Here are a few ideas I've received recently to get you thinking:

  • Programming topics/languages
  • National CAD standards
  • Specific building information modeling (BIM) topics
  • Interviews with software company leaders
  • IT technology (as it relates to CAD)
  • Personnel management issues
  • Quick software configuration tips
  • More in-depth, technical information about software configuration.

Feel free to add topics you don't see, or expand on those listed. Let me know what you'd like to read more about, and why! Please e-mail me with your ideas. If I have any follow-up questions, I'll e-mail you back for clarification. Thanks in advance for your responses — all input is appreciated.

And thank you for your continued readership!

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

InterSpec Offers Discount on Licenses, Free Training
For a limited time, InterSpec is offering 10% off all new licenses, plus free online training. The company's specification writing software, including e-SPECS for Revit, helps architects and engineers produce project manuals. The offer expires March 31, 2016.

Vectorworks Continues Graphical Scripting Webinar Series
Design software developer Vectorworks is offering a series of webinars to educate designers about how to effectively utilize Marionette, an integrated graphical scripting tool introduced in the Vectorworks 2016 line of software. Dubbed Marionette Monday, the free webinar series will include three sessions in February.

:: What's New at

Siemens to Acquire CAE Software Giant CD-adapco for $970 Million
"As part of its Vision 2020, Siemens is acquiring CD-adapco and sharpening its focus on growth in digital business and expanding its portfolio in the area of industry software." Read more »

AutoCAD Drawing at an Angle in AutoCAD? Rotate the UCS!
If you've ever worked on an AutoCAD drawing that was rotated — and you had to figure out all the angles and reference points — then you'll love this tip. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to save time (and your neck!) by rotating the User Coordinate System (UCS). Watch the video »

Create a Tension Cable in Revit's Adaptive Template
You can quickly create adaptive models by setting your workplane, dropping in some points, creating a shape, and making a form. Watch the video »

Herrera on Hardware: New Display Developments Hold Potential for CAD Applications
Curved, 4K, HDR, and other technologies all promise better viewing experiences for professional users — but which will go mainstream, and which will fade away? Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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