CAD Manager's Newsletter (#363)

10 May, 2016 By: Robert Green

Classic CAD Manager: Change Happens

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

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 12, 2014.

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 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.

Read more »

:: Resources

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.

VariCAD Offers Free CAD Viewer and Free Trial of 3D/2D MCAD Software
VariCAD is offering a free trial of a new version of its 3D/2D mechanical CAD system, VariCAD 2016-1.03. The software features new methods of creation or editing of solids defined by profile sketching; more convenient methods of insertion of tools for holes, cuttings, threads, or grooves; new features for 2D stretching, and more. Also available is VariCAD Viewer 2016-1.03, a free viewer, convertor, and printing application.

Thinkbox Offers Free On-Demand Licensing of V-Ray and More This Month
Thinkbox Software is providing free licensing hours of Deadline and Krakatoa as well as free hours of The Foundry's NUKE and KATANA, and Chaos Group's V-Ray, for the month of May. Deadline 8 introduces on-demand, per-minute licensing for Thinkbox tools and third-party applications. The free hours can be used for on-premise or cloud-based rendering; users are responsible for compute resources.

:: What's New at

Indovance Predicts Global Growth in CAD Outsourcing
Sandesh Joshi believes that augmenting local teams with overseas design and engineering assistance can help businesses reach their goals — without threatening jobs. Read more »

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Export and Import Autodesk Fusion 360 Designs
Learn about the process for handing off a design and what options are available — without having to add them to your A360 project. Read more »

In Third Generation, HP Trims Z1 Price While Preserving Performance
Like many of its competitors, HP sees vast potential in the entry segment of the workstation market, and is designing machines that meet budget constraints while exceeding PC capabilities. Read more »

Rigorous GPU Update Regimen Enables VFX Wizards to Produce Eye-Popping Visuals from CAD Files
At the W.I.P visual effects collective, graphics are always a work in progress, and continual updates are necessary to ensure the best performance possible. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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