CAD Manager's Newsletter (#399)

13 Feb, 2018 By: Robert Green

Succeed by Teaming Up with Project Managers

Start thinking about common CAD management problems from the project manager's point of view, and you'll be on your way to building a win–win relationship — and more authority to execute your own priorities.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I talked about the difficult — and unfortunately common — situation of being a CAD manager with no authority. Among the coping strategies I suggested was working with project managers to find common ground on issues such as technical support, training, and CAD standards.

This time around, I'll unpack the idea of working with project managers (PMs) to a much greater degree, give you more techniques for gaining authority as a CAD manager, and lay out a some essential action items. My goal is to help you become more productive, via collaboration with PMs. Here goes.


PMs: Who Are They?

PMs exist solely to stay on top of project details and ensure that projects are completed accurately, profitably, and on schedule. Whether it's an engineer overseeing the construction of a building, a shop floor captain overseeing the creation of a custom retrofit for a vehicle, or an on-site surveyor completing a job for a homeowner, all PMs have the same mantra: Do it right, do it fast, make the customer happy.

Using this broad interpretation of a PM should help you realize that almost any company you work in has PMs, even if that isn't their formal title. So who are the PMs in your company, and how can you interact with them more frequently and effectively?

Action items: Make a list of who the PMs are in your organization, and prioritize those who seem to have power/influence over CAD issues. Resolve to work more closely with these individuals.

Understand Their Unique Power

Since PMs must make so many daily decisions to keep projects on track, it is imperative that they have decision-making authority. If they couldn't make key decisions on a timely basis, projects would fall behind, and mistakes would be made. Senior management staffs understand these realities, and therefore give PMs a wide range of authorities to "get the job done."

So if you've ever wondered where the real authority is on any project, it resides with the PM. And since only those who already have power can grant it to you, it only makes sense that a close relationship with the PM is in your best interest.

Action items: Think about which PMs are most interested in the disciplines relevant to you. Who is the building information modeling (BIM) advocate? Who is the most interested in production drawings? Who understands CAD in construction? Next, create a plan that states which CAD management issues you'll strive to collaborate on with each PM you've listed.

Build Authority by Solving Their Problems

Of course, PMs encounter all sorts of problems, but few things upset them as much as having to rework a job due to CAD/BIM hang-ups. Every time CAD/BIM mistakes are made, the PM must allocate more labor hours to the project. And since every hour spent fixing a problem translates to money that could have been saved, PMs see CAD/BIM problems as reducing project profitability.

If you can shine a spotlight on where the CAD/BIM problems exist and demonstrate how much time is being spent on fixing these problems, you'll have a strong reason to talk to the PM. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Live with Robert Green: Demystifying GPUs for CAD Workstations
In this live, 30-minute web presentation by Cadalyst, CAD management expert Robert Green will shed light on the often confusing and misunderstood role of professional graphics processing units (sometimes called GPUs or graphics cards) in CAD workstations. We'll examine which types of GPUs are appropriate for various software applications, workflows, monitor resolutions, and mobile workstations. Along the way we'll define key terms related to frequency, memory, frame rates, and software protocols so you can read GPU specifications with confidence. We'll also answer the questions, "What are integrated graphics?" and "When are they appropriate for CAD?" and explore the differences between GPUs for CAD applications versus those for gaming/virtual reality. If you've ever been mystified by GPU terminology or wondered what to specify for your users, this webinar is for you.

A live, 30-minute Q&A will follow the presentation. Bring your questions about CAD workstations or any other CAD management concern for a personalized response from Robert Green! Register now for this live, 30-minute web presentation, which will be held March 21, 2018 1:30 PM EDT.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Convert Single-Line Text to Paragraph Text in AutoCAD
So you've converted your SHX text to single-line MTEXT in AutoCAD (after inserting it from a PDF). But you really wish it were in paragraph format so you could modify the width, and maybe even change the numeric order or bullets! Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to convert your single-line text over to paragraph text for easy editing. Watch the video »

With Nomad, AEC-Focused Augmented Reality Makes the Journey to Consumer-Level Devices
The addition of AR capabilities to the Vectorworks Cloud Services app highlights the ways that in-context architectural visualization is rapidly becoming more accessible — no exotic hardware required. Read more »

Herrera on Hardware: The Hidden Danger of Memory Errors in CAD Computing
They may arise infrequently, but the consequences of small memory errors can be huge. How can you reduce the chance of errors — and should you bother? Read more »

Aras Takes On the Pain of PLM
In a marketplace plagued by customer frustration, one product lifecycle management (PLM) developer takes an unusual approach — starting with open software. Read more »

Cadalyst Publishes Guide to Top CAD Technology Trends of 2018
The new white paper provides an industry insider's perspective on which technologies matter the most at the moment — and in the months to come. 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!