CAD Manager's Newsletter (#431)

27 Aug, 2019 By: Cadalyst Staff

To Prioritize Your Workload Effectively, Analyze Change and Need, Part 2

Now that you've gotten a better grasp on your tasks thanks to the radar chart, it's time to implement strategies that will help you schedule and control your workload.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we began examining our workload from a standpoint of the change required for each category of activity we undertake, and balancing that degree of change with how often the change is required

By creating your own radar chart (as I've done below), you'll come to understand what you do, how often you do it, and how complex it all is. Fantastic, because that's the entire point of the exercise! (If you didn't have a chance to review that installment and create your own radar chart, you may want to do so now.)

A Need vs. Change radar chart for CAD management tasks.
A Need vs. Change radar chart for CAD management tasks.

In this edition, we'll draw conclusions from our radar chart and set out some action items/strategies you can use to better manage your workload. Here goes.

Summing Your Numbers

By summing your change and need values for each work category (as I've done below), you can see for yourself which tasks you should emphasize the most. For me — and many other CAD managers — the core categories of software updates, training, standardizing, and software support nearly always occupy the top slots.

Software Updates130
Software Support130
Hardware Support 70
Project Management 80
A Need vs. Change bar chart for CAD management tasks.
A Need vs. Change bar chart for CAD management tasks.

Of course, your mileage may vary, but I bet you have mostly the same problems I do. So, let's dig into each of these four main categories and develop some action items for managing them.

Software Updates

The only good news about software updates is that they don't happen very often. The bad news is that when they do occur, they create a host of problems, including the following:

• New software means you'll have IT issues. Building deployment kits, pushing installers across networks, machine configurations and permissions settings are the areas where problems are typically encountered.
• New software means you'll need to update standards. Updating key files, creating new work folders, and modifying work procedures are typical.
• New software means training. When there's only a minor update, training may not be too bad. Training can be a huge problem, however, if a design paradigm–changing tool is being implemented.
• New software means a period of intense support. No matter how minor the update is, users will have questions — and that means you'll see a spike in demand for your time.

Wow, that's a lot of problems to contend with! What's the best way to tackle them? Try a multifaceted strategy:

•  Do not underestimate the problems associated with software updates.
•  Do not get pressured into performing a software update unless you've had ample time to understand all the problems you may have to deal with.
•  Communication with all parties involved – particularly upper management – is crucial, and should begin the moment you know a software update is coming.

Action Item: Begin forging a plan of attack, which we'll discuss further in the upcoming sections.

Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Publishes Guide to DWG-Compatible CAD Software
Today there are more drafting software choices available from more vendors than ever before, offering customers an array of options in license types, prices, and capabilities. Download "The Wide World of DWG-Compatible CAD Software" to learn about the history and current status of the DWG format, who the players are, and which of the many available product choices might be best for your needs. From the editors of Cadalyst.

What's New from Our Sponsors

Webinar: Rise of Temporary and Pop-Up Architecture (1 AIA HSW)

Webinar: Rise of Temporary and Pop-Up Architecture (1 AIA HSW)
From Vectorworks: The increasing need for adaptable space has given rise to "pop-up architecture," which allows creativity and potential time/cost savings in construction. Explore ways in which pop-up architecture has been developed, used, and admired around the world. Learn more here!

What's New at

Herrera on Hardware: Who Is Using Workstations, and Why?
CAD is the primary driver of today's professional graphics hardware market, but not the only one. See how CAD users' workstation needs compare to those of software engineering, digital media, geoscience, and other professionals. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Fine-Tune the Block Palettes in AutoCAD 2020
After covering the Block Palette essentials in her previous tip, Lynn's ready to dive deeper this time around. Join her as she covers some extra tips that will help you fine-tune your block palettes to work the way you want to work! Watch the video »

Holographic Workstation Gives HMD Haters a New 3D Visualization Option
For design teams and other groups, a desktop holographic display is more practical than head-mounted virtual reality solutions, according to the Looking Glass Factory. Read more »

AMFG Report Provides Insight into 3D Printing Service Bureau Market
Based on an industry-wide survey of additive manufacturing service bureaus, the report describes a highly competitive, fast-growing market that's providing customers with more choices of potential manufacturing suppliers. Read more »

PTC's Heppelmann Maps Out AR Strategy for Enterprise
To determine the best approach for any particular augmented reality (AR) use case, enterprises should start by answering questions about their strategy, their content, and how they'll deliver it. Read more »

Handheld 3D Scanning Helps with Every Phase of Product Lifecycle, Creaform Says
Maker of the new Go!SCAN SPARK and HandySCAN BLACK portable scanners advocates applying the technology throughout product conception, design, manufacturing, and servicing. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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!