CAD Manager's Newsletter (#384)

23 May, 2017 By: Robert Green

The Psychology of CAD Standards

With these strategies — and a better understanding of how to reach your users — you'll be on your way toward a more consistent, more efficient CAD project environment.

I had the opportunity to speak to a large group of CAD managers recently, and I was a bit surprised by how many questions I received about standards. What's worth noting is that the questions had nothing to do with what standards are or how to establish them, but instead focused on how to get people to use standards. If a company has standards but nobody follows them, this must indicate that the psychology of using standards is the real problem, right?

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share a variety of standards strategies I've found useful. Once you realize that standards obstacles are more about psychology than technology, the whole process becomes easier. Here goes.

Use Problems to Provide Perspective

How many problems do you have to fix that are simply a result of users not following standards? The lack of consistent work methods could result in AutoCAD geometry on incorrect layers, SOLIDWORKS assemblies that don't use standard parts, derivative families in Revit, or even something as mundane as nonstandard directory structures. These inconsistences mean it takes longer to find files, fix models, create plots, or build bills of materials, just to name a few possible problems.

Whenever you're forced to fix one of these problems for your users, don't just fix it and suffer in silence. Instead, pose the following question to the person whose disregard for standards caused the problem: "Why not use our standards so you won't have these problems in the first place?"

Then take the argument to the next level by asking this: "Why not forgo your personal work methods and follow the standards so we can all work in a consistent manner and get our work done more quickly and easily?"

You've now identified the problem, you've determined that the cause is ignoring standards, and you've appealed to your users to think beyond themselves and embrace work methods that benefit everyone. It is very hard for anybody to argue with standards when you frame the discussion in this manner!

Psychology tip: Present standards as the smart, efficient way to work.

Automate Your Standards

I'm a firm believer that the best standard is the one you don't know you're using. But how can you make standards "invisible"? Read more »

Tools and Resources

Free MySolidWorks Professional Subscription Available with Purchase
Until December 30, customers who purchase SOLIDWORKS on active subscription can receive a one-year MySolidWorks Professional subscription free (a $360 value). MySolidWorks Professional includes more than 1,000 online product tutorial videos, access to SOLIDWORKS certification prep courses, and news and resources.

AEC Excellence Awards Competition Open Till June 23, 2017
Autodesk is accepting submissions for this year's AEC Excellence Awards competition, which will showcase "projects embracing the future of making things for AEC and civil infrastructure through the use of innovative and connected BIM [building information modeling] technologies." Categories include Building, Infrastructure, Construction, and Sustainability.

What's New at

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GTC 2017, Part 1: NVIDIA Unveils Flagship Volta GPU, Project Holodeck VR Platform, and More
The annual event showcases technologies poised to extend the GPU's reach, with the potential to disrupt CAD workflows. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: Make a Reading Plan to Stay on Top of CAD Technology
With technologies and workflows changing so quickly, the amount of information you need to keep up with may seem overwhelming — but it doesn't have to be. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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