CAD Manager's Newsletter (#432)

10 Sep, 2019 By: Robert Green

Lack of Authority Still Vexes CAD Managers

Feedback shows that senior management continues to need help in understanding the value of CAD standards.

I periodically post a series of questions on my various social media outlets asking what CAD managers find most difficult about their jobs, then wait a while to see if a consensus forms. This time around, the number one problem that CAD managers cite is — once again — lack of authority to do their job.

What hasn't changed is that senior management doesn't know what we do, so it is up to us to explain ourselves. Yet, there were a few interesting new wrinkles in the comments I received this year, which I'll address. My goal for this newsletter is to give you strategies you can use to gain authority over time. Here goes.

Why Don't They Get It?

I'm constantly asked questions like, "Why doesn't senior management understand what I do?" or "Why don't they just let me enforce the standards?" Here's the answer:

Because you're doing such a good job that they don't have to!

Senior management is in the business of dealing with problems. And from their perspective, if the CAD work is going out the door, there must not be a problem! So the harder you work to overcome the problems you have, the more management thinks that everything's fine.

This is a hard pill to swallow for a CAD manager who's working 50 or 60 hours a week, but I promise you it is true. Now if the CAD work stopped going out the door, management would start paying a huge amount of attention to the problem. But as a CAD manager, I can't afford to miss deadlines, so we're now faced with this conundrum: How can you make the boss understand your problems without messing up a project?

Standards Are the Answer

One of the most common complaints I receive about a lack of understanding on the part of senior management revolves around the standards process — and the lack of enforcement authority. I hear these comments all the time:

•  "Management lets our engineers violate the standards all the time — why do I even bother?"
•  "Doesn't management understand that standards make projects work better?"

Let's now ask a couple of related questions:

Q. Do the two questions above reflect standards problems or senior management problems?
A. Senior management problems, without a doubt!

Q. Who is going to educate senior management on the value of enforcing standards?
A. The CAD manager and nobody else! In fact, users may even argue against standards!

You already have the standards, it is just that senior management doesn't understand the value of them, right? So it's your responsibility to make your bosses see that standards are in their best (financial) interest, and that they really should help you enforce them, which brings us neatly to our next topic.

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

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Does MFP reliability matter to you? Join HP and Cadalyst for a webinar exploring the features and capabilities of the HP DesignJet XL 3600 multifunction printer. Reserve your spot for Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 2:00 pm EDT. Register now!

What's New at

Realizing the Promise of the Internet of Things
Taking advantage of the IoT can require product developers to invest in new design methodologies and IT infrastructures, but the potential payoff is huge: better products, new revenue streams, improved product development processes, and mutually beneficial customer relationships. Read more »

AutoCAD Video Tips: Save Time — and Headaches — by Converting Your Images into AutoCAD Blocks
Working with images can be tedious and frustrating, but working with blocks is a piece of cake! Join AutoCAD tipster Lynn Allen as she shows you how to convert your AutoCAD images into blocks for easy access and to save valuable drawing time. Watch the video »

Alienbrain 2019 Introduces Unreal Engine Integration
Thanks to a new plugin, the version control software for artists and designers can now be used from within Epic Games' Unreal Editor. Read more »

Sponsored: The Subtle Shift to "Why Not Cloud?"
From Siemens PLM Software: Times have changed, and so have opinions about product innovation and engineering software in the cloud. The question of "Why use the cloud?" is starting to become, "Why not?" Read more »

Gravity Sketch v1.7 Unchains Conceptual Design with Oculus Quest VR
When paired with Facebook's untethered virtual reality hardware, a new version of the 3D design solution lets users sketch out 3D designs anywhere. Read more »

Viewpoint: Is CAD in the Cloud Right for You?
CAD delivered via the cloud offers many benefits to most users, but poses problems for others. These considerations will help you make the best choice for your needs. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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