CAD Manager's Newsletter (#413)

11 Sep, 2018 By: Robert Green

Avoid Four Common CAD Management Mistakes

You've heard plenty of advice about what to do in your role as CAD manager — now, it's time to learn what not to do.

I'm often asked, "What are the responsibilities of a CAD manager?" or "What should I do to be the most effective CAD manager possible?" Of course, these questions have many answers, and I feel that we've thoroughly covered them over the years in the CAD Manager's Newsletter. But I've come to believe that any job can be made much easier by first not making it harder. If that sounds like a riddle, consider that by avoiding the common mistakes that make CAD managers' jobs miserable, you'll save time and allow yourself to work on higher-value tasks that will truly make your job easier (and your users more productive).

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll share some of the most common mistakes I see CAD managers make, along with suggestions for how to avoid each one. Hopefully you'll find this "What not to do" list as useful in your day-to-day work as I have over the years. Here goes.


Don't Enable Laziness

CAD managers have the knack for making software do almost anything, and users know it. But just because you can make the software do amazing things, that doesn't necessarily mean you should. Consider the following types of requests:

  • "Can you create a routine to re-path all our xrefs for us?"
  • "Can you fix our civil files on a project to have a different coordination point?"
  • "Can you help us figure out how to capture PDF files from our building information modeling (BIM) projects?"

Of course, you could answer "Yes" to all these requests, then start working another 60-hour week to make it all happen, as you have in the past. But perhaps the better answer to these questions would be, "Seems like you're not following our established standards and procedures — I think you should fix your own issues and learn from them, rather than expecting me to bail you out yet again."

The point of this discussion is to focus attention on why problems like these persist. You may find that by always waving your magic wand to fix issues like this, you've inadvertently created a culture of standards violations — after all, why should users bother to do things the right way when somebody else can always fix things later?

Here's how to handle the above questions in a better way:

  • "Let's go over our procedures for getting xrefs set up properly again."
  • "Let's review our procedures for getting all projects coordinated up front."
  • "Let's have a quick show-and-tell session demonstrating how we capture and collate PDF file sets."

You may still have to help fix these problems in a pinch, but at least you're putting everyone on notice that making the same mistakes over and over isn't acceptable, and training people in the right way to do things as you go along. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Guide Explores Benefits of VR and AR for Product Developers
Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (AR, VR, and MR) solutions are no longer limited to sci-fi imaginings or video game applications. Big-name firms are applying these technologies on the front lines of product design, manufacturing, and maintenance in aerospace, automotive, and beyond. This new white paper, written by design industry veteran Randall Newton, explains the basic differences between the technologies and showcases notable examples of companies using them today.

EMA Releases Free Guide to PCB Design
EMA Design Automation has released a free ebook, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to PCB Design," which provides guidance in the printed circuit board (PCB) design and manufacturing process. To download the ebook, which comprises more than 100 pages, interested parties can visit

What's New at

AutoCAD Video Tips: Face Fewer Headaches with Xrefs
In this final chapter in her series on reducing xref stresses, AutoCAD video tipster Lynn Allen shares two tips to help you save money on painkillers and put you on the road to stress-fee design! Watch as Lynn shows you how to make sure your hard-coded paths are changed from Absolute to Relative, and learn about the new updated options in the SaveAs command (as it relates to external references). Watch the video »

3D Printing Begins Proving Its Potential for Construction
New fabrication capabilities are showing concrete results, and expanding design possibilities for construction. Read more »

Emerging Hardware and Software Technologies Support Professional VR/AR Applications, Part 2
StarVR, HTC, and WorldViz were among the many companies using SIGGRAPH 2018 to showcase their advancements in headset and development platform technologies. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Find a Home for Orphaned AutoCAD Xrefs
It's never a good thing when our AutoCAD xrefs become orphans! Join AutoCAD video tipster Lynn Allen as she shows you how to easily find an xref orphan's parent drawing in AutoCAD 2018 or higher and quickly resolve the problem. Watch the video »

Emerging Hardware and Software Technologies Support Professional VR/AR Applications
From eye-tracking headsets to vision correction and beyond, new developments on display at SIGGRAPH 2018 promise a more comfortable, practical future for interactive viewing. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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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!