CAD Manager's Newsletter (#448)

24 Jun, 2020 By: Robert Green

Thrive Through Change with CAD Management 3.0

We're working in a very turbulent time right now, but there will always be more changes to deal with. Effective CAD managers must continue analyzing and adapting in a never-ending quest for improvement.

At the end of January 2020 I started a series on CAD Management 3.0, addressing the idea that CAD management is a changing discipline requiring a refreshed skill set. Little did I know how much things would be changing in the next several months, and how these challenges would add to the burden of many CAD managers.

In recent editions of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we've discussed an array of CAD Management 3.0 topics, including user psychology, standardizing workflows, and how CAD managers must inspire those around them to greatness. To those of you who've followed along, thank you. This time, we'll wrap up the series with some recommendations for extra strategies to help you excel in your role. Here goes.

A Brief Recap of CAD Management 3.0 Principles

So, what makes a great CAD manager in these changed times? The ability to work using these methods is a good summation:

• Make things work better. Listen, find problems, suggest solutions, standardize the solutions, and teach people the solutions.
• Evangelize and motivate. Use the psychology of motivation to make people want to work better. Use the psychology of "less effort" to make people want to be more efficient. Keep evangelizing both approaches.
• Define missions. To make projects flow faster, to save money, and to make yourself indispensable to management and users alike, set out mission statements that strive for improvement.
• Never quit. Realize that in CAD management you're never done, you're just waiting for the next thing to change.

Of course, knowing your software, supporting your users, and getting projects done will always be the bedrock functions of the CAD manager — but if you can work using the above approaches, you can achieve so much more!

Now Add Four Specific Techniques

To pull it all together, there are four techniques I use that can amplify your success:

•  Banish tool worship
•  Align tools with the mission
•  Use pilot projects
•  Continually repeat the process.

These techniques will keep you on track and keep your users positively engaged as you navigate the day-to-day business of CAD management. Let me explain.

Banish Tool Worship

What exactly do I mean by "banishing tool worship"? Always consider the results you get more than which software tools you use to achieve those results. For example, instead of saying, "We need to build a Revit model," say, "We need to create the best BIM model we can (whether we use Revit or open-source IFC tools)." Never assume that you must use a cloud-based design tool when a locally installed app may work better, faster, and cheaper. And never assume that upgrading is smart if the old tool works perfectly well.

When this series touched on Good to Great concepts, I referenced Jim Collins's belief that only software which "accelerates your business" should be considered. This is, essentially, eliminating tool worship, because if you consider software solely for the results it can generate, you'll never purchase anything that doesn't work.

Align Tools with the Mission

Now that you've banished tool worship, you'll never be overly dependent on any given tools again. Now you are free to listen to great ideas your users have and consider only how tools actually work. In fact, great work teams often improvise their own tools to overcome problems associated with achieving their missions: Just as a carpenter might create a jig or template for a given task, your CAD users may propose custom solutions using new or existing CAD tools. As long as the job gets done more effectively, why argue with a great idea? Read more »

Tools and Resources

Community Voting on AU Classes Open Till July 13
The call for proposals for Autodesk University (AU) 2020 has concluded, and the community can help shape this year's conference by voting on which proposed classes they would like to see included in the AU 2020 global digital experience.

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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