CAD Manager's Newsletter (#447)

10 Jun, 2020 By: Robert Green

CAD Management Vision: From Good to Great, Part 2

To overcome the natural human tendencies toward laziness and resistance to change, give your users a mission!

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we began the process of identifying where your company is on the greatness spectrum by giving you some homework to do. Hopefully you've had a chance to read through Part 1 of this topic and ponder the diagnostic questions, but if not, please take a few moments to do so before you proceed.

In this edition, we'll explore some strategies from a best-selling Jim Collins management book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't. I've slightly adapted these strategies to CAD management tasks, so your company can strive toward technical, cultural, and process greatness. Here goes.

pathdoc /
pathdoc /

Why "Good Enough" Really Isn't

One of the key concepts Collins describes in his book is the idea of good being the enemy of great. In other words, once your users reach a certain level of skill at CAD, they get complacent and never strive for anything more. Or, rhetorically speaking, "Why strive for CAD greatness? Achieving greatness is hard, and we're already pretty good."

If you've been a CAD manager for a while, you may recognize this "good enough" problem in the following statements:

•  Why should we enhance our standards? We get work out the door now.
•  Do we really need to make those changes? It's going to be difficult.
•  Don't worry about doing it the right way, just get it done!

It turns out that for any CAD manager to make things work better, he or she first must overcome the basic human tendencies toward laziness and resistance to change. But if you only keep things running "well enough," nothing will ever be "great," it seems. So how should you deal with this conundrum?

Missions Are the Catalyst for Greatness

First things first: People must want to be great. You can't force anyone to be a great CAD user — you need to inspire them to become great by their own free will. So how do you do that? By challenging your users to achieve a mission, and watching them figure out how they'll do it. For example, if management is telling you this:

"We need to reduce BIM [building information modeling] hours on our modular school projects and get started on construction sooner."

Then challenge your users with a mission that has the overall goal of becoming great, but also incorporates specific, measurable targets so everyone will know when greatness is achieved:

"We will become the most efficient BIM design producer of modular school buildings in our industry. We will reduce our BIM labor cost on these projects by 20% and deliver completed documentation to construction 3 weeks faster. All of us here need to figure out the best way to achieve this mission based on what we know and how we can work at our highest efficiency."

Note that the mission only said what the outcome should be, not which tools or techniques must be used. For goodness' sake, don't say anything too specific or technical, like this:

"We will spend a lot of time writing programs and Dynamo scripts to automate the production of RFA families and transmission of 2D geometry to layout tabs for annotation and PDF file capture."

Tools Do Not Guarantee Greatness

Think you can't achieve greatness without the latest and greatest tools? Think again. Think that enduring quality can't be obtained without the latest whizbang software and computers? Think again! Read more »

Tools and Resources

Coordinate Metrology Society Launches 3DMU Learning Portal
The Coordinate Metrology Society (CMS) has announced 3D Measurement U(3DMU), an online video training resource for members of the organization, educators, and metrology practitioners. Industrial measurement topics include measurement uncertainty, distance meters, laser scanners, and more. Metrologists can register for a free one-day trial of 3DMU.

What's New at

Herrera on Hardware: Can 1-to-1 Remote Workstations Provide the Same Performance as Local Machines?
Are you concerned about latency with a remote computing solution? You'll want to evaluate whether response time and image quality meet your expectations or are noticeable enough to be an issue. Read more »

Most Manufacturing and AEC Companies Plan to Use Real-Time 3D within Two Years, Unity Survey Suggests
Currently, only 19% of the surveyed organizations use emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, but the maker of the Unity real-time 3D platform expects that number to increase rapidly. Read more »

Dell Overhauls Precision Workstation Lineup with New and Redesigned Models
New mobile lineup features smaller footprints and improved thermal management; new tower options include an ultra-small form factor design. Read more »

Sponsored: Road and Bridge Digital Twins in Action — Four Case Studies
Digital twins can help road agencies integrate multiple siloed data sources, track and visualize change, produce actionable insights, and more. This overview highlights examples of digital twin applications ranging from roadways to an emergency bridge replacement. Read more »


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

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