CAD Manager's Newsletter (#369)

9 Aug, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff

Dear Readers: After this issue, the CAD Manager's Newsletter is taking a brief break for summer vacation; the newsletter will resume in September.

Classic CAD Manager: Sharpen Up!

Use the 80/20 approach to time management to hone your skills and influence.

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 March 12, 2013.

I am often asked, "How can I manage everything I'm expected to manage in the time I have?" This is definitely a valid question, especially in light of the ever-increasing list of responsibilities competing for the CAD manager's attention. With software upgrades, cloud deployments, mobile computing, building information modeling (BIM), training, technical support, and IT coordination on your plate, it really is hard to prioritize. And along the way, don't we also need to continue improving ourselves as CAD managers?

In this edition, I'll share my CAD management version of the 80/20 rule. I've used it quite successfully over the years to allocate and prioritize my time and build my own skill set, and you can use it as a template for your own time-management challenges. Here goes.

Top Three Objectives

To be effective, a CAD manager must provide his or her users with three essential resources:

  • Support, so current projects are completed on time and meet quality standards.
  • Leadership and coordination to help users become more productive over time.
  • Forward-thinking guidance regarding the adoption of new software, hardware, and work methods.

I've presented these objectives in order of their importance to senior management. I feel confident that your management first wants you to ensure that projects are complete and on time; if you don't, you'll find yourself without a job.

Secondly, management wants you to focus on continually improving productivity; do so, and you'll be viewed as an excellent manager.

Finally, management expects you to stay informed about software, hardware, and other technology trends for your industry, and to forecast how changes might affect your company in the coming years. Predict the future accurately, and you'll become invaluable to your company.

The problem I continue to encounter is that senior management doesn't understand all the tasks required to meet each objective and how much time they take. I'll go into more detail on this shortly.

Time Allocation

The question becomes, How do you allocate your time so you can successfully meet all three key objectives within your workday? In addition, you must continue your own education so that you remain the most knowledgeable CAD resource in the company.

My solution is a version of the 80/20 rule. I spend 80% of my time managing ongoing projects while collecting data about how to make the process work better. I reserve the other 20% of my time for educating myself about software, hardware, and business methods that I think might be of value to the company in the future.

What I like about this approach is that I'm always picking up something new. Whether I'm learning techniques that improve current projects or getting up to speed on an entirely new technology, I know I'm bettering myself and giving my company a better CAD manager — a win-win scenario! Read more »

:: Resources

CADEX Offers Free Version of CAD Exchanger App for Android
CAD Exchanger is now available in an Android version to help engineers and 3D designers to view, convert, and share 3D models. The free plan enables users to view 3D models smaller than 10 MB, explore the product structure and detail properties, gather measurements, and more. The annual subscription plan ($29) enables conversion functionality, advanced sectioning views, and the import of larger files. A 30-day free trial is available.

:: What's New at

AutoCAD 2016 Certification Exam — Sample Question
Jaiprakash Pandey leads viewers through an example of a test question for the AutoCAD Professional certification exam. Watch the video »

More Tricks for AutoCAD's New Dimensioning Tool
The new dimensioning tool in AutoCAD is so smart, it can even sort out continued dimensions with a single click! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you another productive tip within the new DIM tool, and demonstrates how to easily control the width of dimension text. Watch the video »

Autodesk Ends Suites, Introduces Collections
AEC, product design, and M&E professionals gain one way to access a portfolio of software tools, while another is taken off the market. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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