CAD Manager's Newsletter (#362)27 Apr, 2016 By: Robert Green
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 »
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