CAD Manager's Newsletter (#459)14 Jan, 2021 By: Robert Green
What I Wish I Had Known About CAD Management
If I could have a conversation with my younger self, I’d explain to him that being a CAD manager requires much more than just technical skill.
There’s a quote from the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard that has always captivated me: “You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward.” This has made me think about the lessons I’ve learned over the years that have most helped me succeed in my CAD manager’s role. What I’ve come to realize is that there are certain principles — core rules, if you like — that CAD managers should consider before anything else. These rules for how you approach the job, communicate, and build career equity over time are the things I wish I’d known when I started this journey.
So in this edition of the CAD Manager’s Newsletter, I’ll do something a bit different and share with you an imaginary conversation with my younger self just getting started on the CAD manager’s journey. I hope you find this a provocative way to consider new possibilities for the New Year. Here goes.
This Job Is All About Project Management
You know, this job isn’t really isn’t as technical as you might think. Sure, you’re a great technical professional — one who can figure out most anything CAD-based if given some time to research it — but that skill set isn’t what will give you success in the end.
Instead, you’ll achieve long-term success in this position because you can manage projects and deliverables and do whatever needs to be done to achieve that goal. In some companies, you’ll need to eliminate years of disorganization; in others, you may focus more on standards or training issues. The only thing you know for sure is that the challenge at each company will always be different, and the market is always changing.
So, if you think you can become a great CAD manager by only having a technical skill set focused on a single discipline — such as BIM or MCAD — think again. You’ll do far better to develop a wide-ranging skill set that embraces project management and human factors first, then build your technical skills behind the scenes as you can.
Conclusion: Being technical without being managerial will limit your success — so think more like a project manager.
See the Big Picture
Realize that great project managers get results from diverse teams of people, so it won’t be enough to just understand how CAD users think. Think about taking a building project from concept through construction and ask yourself, “What do I need to understand to make this all work?” From that starting point, you’ll start to comprehend the big picture.
Conclusion: You’ll be a far better CAD manager if you understand the big picture of where CAD deliverables go and how to support all the teams that use your deliverables to execute projects. Read more »
Tools and Resources
Get First Dibs on the 2021 Freebies Guide!
Cadalyst is updating our "Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users" guide, and we'd like your input! Do you have a favorite software tool or resource that doesn't cost a thing? It could be a PDF converter, a sketching tool, a file utility, an AutoLISP routine, a library of downloadable models, or anything else that helps you with your work. Every reader who submits a relevant tool will receive a copy of the updated e-guide before it's available publicly, bypassing the usual registration requirements.
Send your tool recommendation(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, January 18, for consideration. Be sure to include:
And don't miss your last chance to download the current version of "Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users" while it's still available! Visit the Cadalyst Library today for this and other guides, white papers, tip sheets, and more for CAD managers and users.
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About the Author: Robert Green
For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX. Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!
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