CAD Manager's Newsletter (#433)24 Sep, 2019 By: Cadalyst Staff
Why CAD Managers Need Authority
Is lack of authority just an excuse for not being able to enforce standards and procedures? Here's what you — and your upper management team — must understand about the necessity of authority in the CAD manager's role.
In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I updated my periodic survey of what CAD managers feel are their most prevalent problems. Not surprisingly, the survey respondents reported many of the same problem areas I heard about in past years, but with slightly different spins due to changing times and technologies.
In this edition, I'll wrap up this look into CAD manager problems, and also tackle some of the reader responses the subject has generated so far. Here goes.
The Authority Conundrum
In the previous edition, I posited that the core problem CAD managers face is lacking the authority to do their job effectively. This view seemed to be validated by most feedback I received, but there were a few who took me to task. In their mind, authority isn't required if you have enough influence to achieve voluntary compliance. One reader even said, "Lack of authority is just an excuse" for not being able to enforce standards and procedures. To these views, I offer the following amplification of my original comments:
Of course influence should be sought — and used — by all CAD managers. After all, isn't training simply a form of influencing how users perceive a software tool? And if you're perceived as being the best CAD authority in the building, many people will tend to listen to you. Finally, I would prefer that everyone followed the rules voluntarily but, in reality, that's just not always the case.
There are those who simply won't get with the program. In my experience, these types of problem users can only be dealt with via authority. Whether that authority comes from me or from a project manager is immaterial to me, as long as the problem is dealt with.
Authority is part of every other manager's toolkit, so why not us? Is there any other manager in the company who is responsible for critical job functions, yet doesn't have authority? I don't think so. When it comes to authority, you either have it or you don't. Why not have the discussion with your boss about the authority you need? Be specific, and use the arguments I've presented above; you may find that authority comes your way if you justify the need for it.
I view the CAD user community as a microcosm of society: Most people are good citizens, most comply with practical guidelines without issue, but some simply won't follow the rules and must be dealt with via authority.
Why Management Doesn't "Get It"
Another trend I've noticed over the past five years or so is that more CAD managers view themselves as production users rather than managers. And when it comes to making senior management understand you, acting and speaking from the perspective of a user can be limiting. Like it or not, managers tend to understand and respect other managers, so it really does pay to understand how they think about things. Here are a few strategies for developing a more managerial mindset that I've come to believe in.
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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