CAD Manager's Newsletter (#405)

8 May, 2018 By: Robert Green

Spring into Standards, Part 4: Sell, Train, Audit, and Enforce to Make Standards Work!

The work of CAD standards doesn't end with implementation — you must stay vigilant as you enter "maintenance mode."

In the first three installments of this Spring into Standards series, I discussed revamping your CAD standards, making decisions, and rolling out your new standards. I hope you followed along with these previous installments to plan your standards refresh; if not, you may want to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 now to have proper context for this installment.

Spring Into StandardsIn this final installment of Spring into Standards, we'll focus on what comes after the initial rollout: standards maintenance. Much like any other change in a work environment, I find that making standards a permanent part of the culture requires a continual effort on the CAD manager's part. In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some strategies for maintaining momentum in your standards rollout so users embrace new standards and don't backslide into old habits. Here goes.

You Have to STAE at It

What do I mean by STAE? It is an acronym for Sell, Train, Audit, Enforce that seems to get people's attention.

You'll recall that in Part 3 of this series, I advised CAD managers to continue evangelizing about standards, even while training users and during implementation. I stand by this concept wholeheartedly, but at what point should cheering about standards give way to the practical business of making them work? Real-world issues — such as project managers saying, "Don't worry about the standards, just get the work done!" — can be very hard to overcome. Here's where STAE comes in:

  • Sell. As you interact with users, always sell them on the benefits of standardization: Fewer clicks, fewer picks, and fewer mistakes mean work gets done more quickly and efficiently.
  • Train. If users have doubts about using the standard, show them how easy it is. You can train one-on-one, in small groups, at lunch-and-learns — wherever. Quite often, you'll find that to sell someone on a standard, you may have to train them several times so they feel comfortable with it and see its benefits.
  • Audit. Are users following standards, or are they quietly violating them again? The only way to know is to check file sets periodically to see who is following the rules — and who isn't.
  • Enforce. If auditing reveals that a user isn't following the new standard, despite your thorough efforts to sell and train, it is time to enforce the rules.

Now that we know the basic components of STAE, let's break each one down into action items you can use as you work to make your standards stick within your organization.

Sell: Provide Persuasive Reasons

If users are questioning your standards, the most likely reason for their resistance that they aren't comfortable changing their work practices. Selling is different than evangelism, because selling isn't just about building enthusiasm; it is about convincing people to buy into a concept or behavior with their time or money. So you'll need to provide some concrete reasons for users to invest their time in learning the standards. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Formlabs Tool Calculates ROI of 3D Printing
A new interactive tool from Formlabs, a developer of 3D printing solutions, can help users compare outsourcing with in-house production, determine cost per part, and determine time and cost differences relative to other production methods. Completed return on investment (ROI) reports can be viewed online or downloaded as PDF files.

Autodesk Publishes Guide to Boosting BIM Bottom Line
Autodesk is offering a free ebook to those who register: Nine Ways Cloud-Enabled Design Collaboration Can Help Increase BIM Project Profit Margins. According to the company, benefits of cloud-enabled building information modeling (BIM) include fewer design errors, workplace flexibility, and reduced IT spending.

What's New at

New KeyShot Viewer Supports Interactive Product Design Reviews
A new application from Luxion enables users to experience interactive visualizations without high-powered hardware — or a copy of KeyShot. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: Spring into Standards, Part 3 — Take Action on Your New CAD Standards
You're off to a great start on revamping your company's CAD standards to make work processes more efficient — but how will you prioritize the implementation? Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Create Smart Centerlines in AutoCAD
It's not uncommon to add centerlines while dimensioning -- but are your centerlines smart? AutoCAD tipster Lynn Allen shows you the ins and outs of associative centerlines, and explains how to disassociate and reassociate them! Watch the video »

Cadalyst Updates Guide to Workstations on a Budget
The 2018 edition of "How to Choose a CAD Workstation on a Budget" provides advice on configurations that balance function with finances. Read more »

Cadalyst Publishes 2018 Guide to Freebies for CAD Users
Updated version of the popular guide, "Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users," helps readers find no-cost and low-cost tools and resources. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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