CAD Manager's Newsletter (#362)

26 Apr, 2016 By: Robert Green

Classic CAD Manager: Avoid CAD Management Traps

Yes, most problems can be fixed — but it's much better to prevent them in the first place.

Editor's note: Until Robert Green returns, we'll be revisiting a few classic CAD Manager columns and their timeless advice. This column was originally published on November 19, 2014.


If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to do your job better, and you keep an eye out for relevant tips, guidelines, and advice. Many of these tips follow a particular format: "Follow this procedure," or "Here's an optimal way to approach a task." In other words, they tell you the best way to do something. While that certainly can be helpful, some of the best advice I've received in my career is about what not to do — thus helping me avoid critical mistakes.

In this edition of "CAD Manager," I'll point out some common CAD management traps to avoid and give you some clues on how to spot potential problems before they become serious. Here goes.

Don't Overstep Your Authority

This is the most important piece of advice I give to CAD managers: It is far better to operate from a position of what you can do than what you cannot do.

Unfortunately, it's the opposite scenario that I see play out over and over again: A frustrated CAD manager lays down the law and tells users, "Follow the standards or else!" Then, when people ignore the standards later, he or she has no authority to enforce them. This CAD manager now has a standards problem to resolve and, perhaps worse, now has a user community that knows they can ignore the CAD manager.

A better way to handle this situation is to get your project management team to state clearly what you are empowered to do. I recommend that you go to your project managers and say, "We've got a real problem with everyone on this project team working in their own, nonstandard ways, and it is causing a mess with our files. I need you to help me enforce the standards." A typical response will be along these lines: "If they violate the standards, then send them to me and I'll take care of it!"

You can now tell your users the following: "We've had a lot of problems pulling project files together because nobody is following the standards. Management has informed me they are serious about fixing this problem, and that violators will be dealt with by the project manager."

This response illustrates that you're serious about standards and states that although you don't have the authority to enforce the rules, you are backed up by the people who do.

Takeaway:Never assume authority you don't have, but always use the authority that you do have.Read more »

:: Resources

Cadalyst Special Edition: Professional Development Strategies
For design and engineering professionals, excellent performance in the workplace is a moving target. Software and hardware tools are constantly changing, as are the needs of your co-workers and managers. This Cadalyst Special Edition will help find training that suits your style, better understand what your boss wants, become the expert your peers trust, and more. Download your copy today.

ASCENT Updates Training Guides for AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Inventor, Revit
Rand Worldwide, a provider of engineering design and information technology solutions, announced that its courseware division, ASCENT — Center for Technical Knowledge has released 11 updated training guides for Autodesk 2017 software. The newly released titles are available through ASCENT's online store, in both print and eBook formats, and in print from Amazon.

:: What's New at

Fujitsu: 25 Years of Workstation Innovation
Cadalyst takes a look back at the company's history of delivering engineering breakthroughs and industry-first products for CAD/BIM/CAE applications. Sponsored by: Fujitsu.Download now

Autodesk AEC Updates Focus on Saving Time, Clarifying Communication
The latest refinements to Revit, Civil 3D, and InfraWorks 360 aim to help users model more efficiently and share their design intent more effectively. Read more »

Trusst Lingerie Uses SolidWorks to Engineer a New Support Structure
Headed by a team of female designers and engineers, the crowdfunded startup approaches brassiere design from a user's perspective. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!