CAD Manager's Newsletter (#454)

23 Sep, 2020 By: Robert Green

Make Your Users Your Allies

When you're constantly correcting your users' behavior, it can be hard to remember that you're all on the same team — but finding ways to make users happier can result in a happier CAD manager too.

As CAD managers, many of us find ourselves responsible for controlling all manner of user behaviors. Whether it is imposing standards, conducting trainings, installing new tools and workflows, or interacting between departments, it all involves dealing with users. I don't know about you, but I find these user interactions harder to manage than software by a long shot.

So, what is the easiest way to deal with user behaviors? I suggest that making users your allies is a great place to start, and that's the topic of our discussion in this issue of the CAD Manager's Newsletter. Here goes.

Image source: pairhandmade/
Image source: pairhandmade/

Examining User Interaction

Let's start this conversation by asking some diagnostic questions. I'll offer my take on each one, but I really want you to think of your own answers as well and contrast your experiences with mine. Let's begin:

Can you make all your users happy all the time? No. Lord no. And even if you could make things work perfectly, there would always be those who would argue about how it worked perfectly. The more you push to make everyone happy, the more burned out you'll become as you grudgingly come to realize it just can't be done.

Can you strive to make most users happy most of the time? Yes — and you should. When you create a CAD work environment that most users enjoy working in, you'll notice less arguing about standards, better productivity, and lower error rates — all things that you want anyway, right? And besides, if you make most users happy, then those who chronically complain will be seen as argumentative and non-productive.

Can you provide technical solutions to user problems that will enable the users to get their jobs done faster? Typically, yes. Simple customization, job-specific tools, templates, families, standard components, and automated procedures are just a few ways that you can leverage CAD technology to achieve time savings. And when users get done faster, that makes them happy! This method really shines when you create custom tools or workflows that solve common user problems. With problems eliminated and speedier workflows in place, why wouldn't your users be happy?

Is it worth your while to try making your users happy? Yes. Because happy users get more done, and because a greater percentage of happy users means a happier CAD manager.

But shouldn't users just do their jobs and follow the standards without question? In theory, yes. In reality, it never works that way, does it? It seems that that users will do whatever they think will get their work done faster, whether it conforms to standards and best practices or not. And that lack of adherence to standards makes me an unhappy CAD manager.

Take Action!

I'm hoping you're now ready to work more with your users to make them happier and more productive — but how should you proceed? Try the following strategies, which have always helped me to win over users.

Be their advocate. Often, CAD users feel that the computing environment and CAD software they work in hinder them instead of helping them. Users often make comments like, "the management doesn't know how messed up this is" or "these standards slow me down" or "this workstation is a piece of garbage" out of frustration. By becoming a CAD user advocate, you can carry user complaints to IT or project management teams where they can make a difference. Read more »

Tools and Resources

Cadalyst Publishes 2020 Guide to Monitors for CAD Users
To help you select the right monitor for your needs, representatives from four manufacturers share important considerations for CAD users in the 2020 edition of "Choose the Best Type of Monitor for CAD." Download this free Cadalyst guide for a range of perspectives from industry experts at BenQ, Lenovo, NEC Display, and ViewSonic. Get advice about form factors, response time, resolution, connectivity, and more that can help you make better choices — whether you're selecting monitors for yourself or for an entire department of CAD users.

What's New at

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CAD Manager Column: Craft Effective Remote CAD Trainings, Step by Step
These tips will help you prepare video tutorials and accompanying cheat sheets, and deliver polished instructor-led trainings. Read more »

Construction Industry Needs Wider Implementation of Digital Technologies, According to Asite Report
The developer of a cross-discipline cloud platform for capital projects urges AEC firms to build a digital ecosystem. Read more »

Sponsored: Comparing Costs of Remote Workstation Offerings for CAD and BIM
Does it make more sense for your company to set up its own private cloud, or to rent virtual machines on a public cloud? Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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