CAD Manager's Newsletter (#392)

26 Sep, 2017 By: Robert Green

Master the Details to Manage CAD Project Deadlines Smoothly

To minimize delays and unpleasant surprises, ask lots of questions — and plan backward.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we talked about how new technologies can change the way we deal with classic CAD management issues — for better or worse — and suggested that new strategies might be in order. So why not start by tackling the biggest problem most CAD managers deal with: deadlines.

In this edition, we'll explore some proven strategies for managing project deadlines from a CAD manager's perspective, presented in a decision-making framework. My hope is you'll find this approach useful in your own work environment. Here goes.

What's Due, When, and Where?

It used to be that deadlines were defined by a known deliverable (such as AutoCAD files) produced by a known date (the deadline). These days, it isn't always that simple. Consider the following example:

  • Deadline: November 1, 2017
  • Deliverable: Coordinated building information modeling (BIM) project file set, transmitted using a predefined directory structure of relative paths.
  • Deliverable location: Corporate Box cloud account.

In this case, it's easy to see that we can't just send the client a disc with AutoCAD files on it, right? So how does this sort of project deliverable set make life more difficult? Let's explore:

  • The coordinated file set must be delivered in a pre-agreed filing structure such that all files will resolve when opened. Since we have no idea what the client's storage structure will ultimately be, we must build in time to research and benchmark how this file transmittal will work.
  • The use of a cloud storage solution (Box, in this case) means we'll need to procure an account and ensure that the security controls will be adequate to protect our intellectual property.

Strategy conclusion: To effectively manage our task load now, we need to understand what we must deliver in the future — and that means more upfront homework for the CAD manager.

Any New Software?

Will your project necessitate the use of any new software, be it installed on a local desktop, based in the cloud, or on an iPad? If so, consider the following:

  • How much implementation time will be required?
  • Will you need to develop standards?
  • Will users need to be trained?
  • Will that new software require implementation time, IT support, or training?
  • Will the use of a cloud- or mobile-based app require changes to company security policies?

Strategy conclusion: Any time that new software is brought into a project, it pays to be cautious. The difference is that in today's cloud/app environment, new software is much more likely to be introduced during your project than it was just a few years ago.Read more »

Tools and Resources

Live with Robert Green: Don't Be Penny-Wise and Workstation-Foolish
CAD managers and IT professionals: Join Cadalyst for this first-ever live web event with Robert Green, our resident expert and widely popular speaker and adviser on all things related to CAD management. Green will share firsthand how proper investment in CAD computing hardware pays off big in the long run for CAD users and their companies. Join us live on Wednesday, October 4, at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT, or sign up now to view the on-demand recording later. Sponsored by Fujitsu. Register now.

What's New at

Autodesk Presents Product Design & Manufacturing Collection Tour
A live webinar hosted by Cadalyst and sponsored by Autodesk will feature Autodesk product marketing manager Jim Byrne and senior technical marketing specialist Jay Tedeschi giving a guided tour of the Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection. Topics will include:

  • A firsthand overview of the collection, including the new Autodesk Nastran In-CAD and Autodesk Inventor HSM
  • Tips on how to get the most out of new features and enhancements
  • Ideas for improving your design quality and streamlining your workflow.

The webinar will be held October 11 at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT. Register now. »

Sponsored: CAD Manager's Guide to the AutoCAD–MicroStation Transition
From Bentley Systems: Get a realistic perspective of what's involved in the move, the resources and support available to ease the process, and how MicroStation can actually make your job easier in the long run. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Snap to Hatch Patterns and Extension Lines
If you've ever grabbed the endpoint of an extension line rather than the intended object, or wished you could grab the individual objects in a crosshatch pattern, then this tip is for you! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to manage the object snap behavior as it relates to hatch patterns and extension lines in AutoCAD. Watch the video »

Herrera on Hardware: Harnessing the Cloud for CAD — The Case for Virtual Workstations, Part 4
With virtual workstations, the infrastructure between the client and the cloud can make or break the user experience. Read more »

Siemens PLM Software Sharpens Focus on Digital Factory
At its annual Industry Analyst Conference, the company talked up its strategy of providing comprehensive automation and digitalization for progressive product development. Read more »

HP Aims to Support Emerging Design Workflows with New Workstations
Virtual reality, machine learning, and advanced design join 3D CAD, rendering, analysis, and simulation as drivers of desktop power increases. Read more »

United Utilities Tackles Water Projects with Collaborative BIM Strategy
A new building information modeling (BIM) approach, facilitated by Bentley Systems ProjectWise, is expected to save a UK utility more than GBP 40 million on capital delivery projects. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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