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CAD Manager's Newsletter (#431)

28 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
Training100
Standardizing110
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.


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