CAD Manager's Newsletter (#398)

23 Jan, 2018 By: Robert Green

How to Be Effective as a No-Authority CAD Manager

Even if you lack the power and budget that should come along with the responsibilities, you can still make CAD processes better by building your own authority among users.

Last November, I gave a presentation at Autodesk University discussing a scenario familiar to many in the audience: being tasked with all the responsibilities of CAD management, yet having no managerial authority to enforce anything. Toiling away without any authority from their senior management, many of these "no-authority CAD managers" are frustrated, burned out, and not so happy about their job many days of the week.

There is a ray of hope in this predicament: This is not a new phenomenon, so some strategies have been developed for dealing with the situation. In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll pass along some ideas for how to build your own authority by winning your users over via peer-to-peer interaction. I've used these strategies personally, and I hope they can help you too. Here goes.


Become the Go-To Resource

There's an old saying that people only go to a well where there's water — and likewise, users only to go a CAD manager who solves their problems. This truism has always made me believe that establishing your technical credibility — by making sure your coworkers recognize your expertise — is the number one way to achieve CAD management success.

Since your senior management team hasn't given you enough power or budget to really be a manager, you must proactively assume a posture of leadership. The trick is to understand how you can act like a manager with authority when, in fact, you have none. Let's explore some possible methods.

Foster User Groups

Wouldn't it be great if you could share tips, ideas, and time-saving work methods with other users in your company? Further, wouldn't it be great if you could do so in an unofficial way, without time pressures? Creating in-house user groups is a handy way of achieving these goals.

Start your user group meetings as a monthly potluck or brown-bag lunch break, and ask members to share their best tips and tricks. Don't feel a sense of pressure to do anything but organize the meeting and encourage people to come share their knowledge. Even if nothing earth-shattering comes from your user group, you will have still brought users closer together, and will most likely have done some good in helping users become more efficient.

While creating a user group will require some time and effort on your part, the benefits you'll gain in terms of user trust and leadership credibility can be invaluable. And as a side note, when your management team sees you take on leadership initiatives, they're more likely to think of you when advancement opportunities come up! Read more »

Tools and Resources

IMAGINiT Technologies Offers New Online Training Platform
IMAGINiT Technologies' LIVE Online training classes for Autodesk software now feature a proprietary, cloud-based, learning platform that simulates a physical classroom. Instructors can simultaneously view all students' desktops to monitor progress; students can ask questions of the instructor, and receive instant feedback and support from classmates as well.

Eagle Point Updates Training Solution with Browser Interface
Pinnacle Series, an Autodesk implementation, training, and support system from Eagle Point Software, features an Internet browser–based interface for the first time in the 2018 release. Pinnacle Series 2018 also includes new Work Groups, which give users the ability to access specific assets as they relate to a project team or group of people.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Convert SHX Text from PDF Files to MTEXT
Let's face it — we still have plenty of AutoCAD drawings with SHX fonts in them! Adobe PDF files aren't quite sure what to make of SHX text; consequently, they don't save the info needed to convert back to MTEXT when re-inserted into AutoCAD. What does that mean to you? Watch the video »

New Technologies, Lower Prices Are Reshaping Metal 3D Printing Market
Software and hardware products on display at formnext conference illustrate the forces making metal a faster, cheaper option. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: Which CAD Workstation Buyers Can Benefit from Threadripper?
An analysis of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper illustrates why a workstation CPU is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

Add comment

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!