CAD Manager's Newsletter (#443)

7 Apr, 2020 By: Robert Green

Standards Psychology for CAD Management 3.0

Some users will follow standards willingly; for others, you'll need a strategy that incorporates education, audits, and a basic understanding of human nature.

One of the main problems we all encounter as CAD managers is dealing with standards, right? And in the age of CAD Management 3.0, I find the problem has become much worse due to the number of branch offices and remote workers we must now manage. (Author's note: This newsletter was planned prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns around the world — which, oddly, has made the topic even more relevant.)

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I'll start the discussion about managing CAD standards in a new age by discussing the very foundation of CAD standards: managing human response. As the series progresses, we'll examine more specific strategies for a range of challenges. Here goes.

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First: Acknowledge Human Nature

If I had to summarize the psychological standards "dance" I've gone through with thousands of CAD users over the years, it would go something like this:

Me: Here's the standard way to perform Task X in the CAD system.

User: Yeah, but I can do it my own way, right?

Me: No, this is a standard and you need to follow it.

User: So this is a recommendation to use if it suits the project?

Me: No, it's a standard and you need to follow it.

User: I don't like being told how to work, can't everybody else just follow the standard?

Me: If we all follow the standard, we'll all reduce errors and save time.

User: I like my way better.


OK, maybe I'm taking a few creative liberties here, but this is more or less what the process feels like every time. The bottom line is, humans don't like to be told what to do, and they'll push back if you try to change their behavior.

Psychology tip: Know that the tendency to resist authority is just part of the human condition and don't take it personally.

Second: Realize Your Disadvantage

In today's world of remote workers, branch offices, and the very high ratio of users to CAD managers, there are a few simple facts we must acknowledge:

•  We can't keep our eye on everyone.
•  There's very little way to know how projects are truly progressing.
•  Standards violations are easily concealed unless we look for them.
•  If people know we're looking, standards compliance goes up.

The fact that practically the entire planet is working remotely at this point makes it nearly impossible to know what is going on until a CAD deliverable is actually submitted, right? So the question then becomes: How can we seek out standards problems — and find them early — without having to totally micromanage the process?

Psychology tip: When users know that standards are being checked — even if only intermittently — they are much more likely to follow the rules. This, again, is simply human nature, and should not be taken as a personal affront to your authority. Read more »

Tools and Resources

CATI Launches Online Training Series
Computer Aided Technology has launched the innovate3D online event series for engineering and manufacturing professionals. The 30- to 90-minute innovate3D webcasts comprise live hands-on training, presentations, and product demonstrations; topics include SOLIDWORKS, 3D printing, and more.

What's New at

Sponsored: How Architectural 3D Visualizations Can Streamline Builders' Sales Process
Photorealistic visualizations can boost customer confidence and help close deals, but they have traditionally been the domain of architects or home designers equipped with complex software and expensive hardware. Now, home builders without 3D design skills can create 3D renderings in a web browser instead. Read more »

Vendors Alter Plans and Policies to Support CAD Community During COVID-19 Crisis
The companies that supply designers and engineers are changing license terms to support working from home, and taking in-person gatherings online to help keep attendees safe. Read more »

Ten Tips for Success with Online Meetings
From simplifying your CAD environment to smiling, here are ten simple ways you can improve your online meeting experience when you're working from home. Read more »

Epic Games Updates Twinmotion Architectural Visualization Tool
Twinmotion 2020 features new lighting, material, and vegetation options that yield more realistic renderings for communication with project stakeholders, according to the developer. Read more »

AutoCAD 2021 Helps Users Travel into the Past — of Their Drawings
The latest release of Autodesk's venerable 2D/3D CAD software application includes a Drawing History feature, which enables users to see how their drawings have changed over time, and compare past versions with the present. Read more »


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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