CAD Manager's Newsletter (#410)

24 Jul, 2018 By: Robert Green

Assess Your CAD Management Plan

When you're absorbed in the day-to-day challenges of your job, it's easy to miss something important. Taking the time to analyze the various aspects of your work will help you become a better manager.

In the previous two editions of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I discussed ways to assess the status of your career. Since you're already in self-assessment mode, I'm hoping you'll be willing to stay there for a bit longer to analyze your CAD management plan — an exercise that can only make you a better manager.

There are so many aspects to being a CAD manager that it's easy to overlook something. Doing a periodic assessment is a great way to see the bigger picture and determine how you're doing. Get ready to make some notes! Here goes.

Image by olly /
Image by olly /

The Components of CAD Management

What to assess? Great question. The answer is: Everything that pertains to CAD management. Even though you may not be responsible for every item on this list at present, you should at least be concerned with these areas of activity:

  • Software usage and licensing
  • Hardware specification and purchasing
  • Standards and IT policy
  • Training
  • Ongoing support
  • Budgeting
  • Cost reduction and optimization.

If you ever wonder why CAD management is such a tough job, just look at this list and you'll have your answer — there's a lot to worry about! So, as with any big problem, let's break our assessment into manageable chunks, and start by answering some questions in each area and assigning action items as required.

Software Usage and Licensing

Do you know how many licenses you have, how fully they are utilized, and how your needs might change next year? Do your users really need the software they have, or could they get by with less expensive tools? If you have too many licenses of one product, can you afford to let their subscriptions lapse at the next renewal date, or should you upgrade or crossgrade to another product? Could network or remote access licensing allow you to own fewer copies of expensive analytical or rendering software?

Your responses to these questions will enable you to truly understand your software needs and costs for at least the next year. It is often surprising how many software licenses are under-utilized (such as a full building information modeling [BIM] suite license assigned to an engineering manager who doesn't do CAD work) or could be shared among many users. Since CAD software is expensive (and is becoming more so with every year, it seems) it literally pays to understand all the variables and tailor your software licensing to your company's needs.

Action items:

  • If IT is responsible for licensing, then insist on doing a detailed assessment with them — they'd probably love having your expertise and assistance anyway.
  • If you find ways to save, write them down in an executive summary and show your boss!
  • If your company is growing, make an attempt to forecast future software needs so management knows about upcoming increases in software budgets.

Conclusion: With software becoming so expensive, licensing can be one of the best places to find savings — and you know your boss will like that.Read more »



Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Publishes Downloadable Guide to CAD Standards
The CAD environment has changed, making CAD standards a much more complex — and perplexing — challenge than in the past. It's time to rebuild your standards to reflect this new reality. This free, 15-page guide features the practical advice and easy-to-follow action checklists that CAD management expert Robert Green is known for. His entire four-part series of CAD Manager columns on standards is compiled in this guide.

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Avoid Broken Links in AutoCAD External References
Let's face it: We have a love/hate relationship with xrefs! We love them when they work, but we hate them when they don't! Join AutoCAD tipster Lynn Allen as she shows you how to avoid those pesky broken links when working with external references inside of AutoCAD. Watch the video »

Herrera on Hardware: CAD Workstation Form Factors 101, Part 3 — Mobiles Move Front and Center
Mobile workstations have boomed since their relatively recent introduction. What does that indicate about CAD users' workflows, and what options are available to you? Read more »

Cadalyst Verifies Compatibility of Cadalyst Benchmark with AutoCAD 2019
Users can test and compare the performance of computers running AutoCAD 2000–2019. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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