CAD Manager's Newsletter (#466)

28 Apr, 2021 By: Robert Green

When the Problem is Senior Management. . .


Use the right communication tactics to make sure senior management supports and helps you, rather than hinders your CAD management strategies. 

In prior issues of The CAD Manager’s Newsletter, we’ve discussed dealing with problem users at some length. Users that won’t follow standards, won’t attend training, won’t keep their files in order, etc. All these user scenarios cause issues for CAD managers to be sure, but perhaps the biggest problems that many CAD managers deal with are actually from the managers we report to.

Whether it is senior management’s take on budgets, your lack of authority, or project managers who cut corners, dealing with issues caused by management can be a unique headache for CAD managers. In this installment, I’ll share some tried and true methods for dealing with management staff when they make our jobs tougher than they should be. Here goes.

Image source: panumas/

Their Perspective is Very Different

I think we all agree that senior management doesn’t necessarily view things the way we do. We tend to think about CAD tools, IT tools, and how to get users up to speed on these tools so that work can get done. This is in stark contrast to senior management who tend to focus on financials and sales.

In my experience, these are the goals that management cares most about:

  • Getting projects done ASAP,
  • Getting projects done at minimum cost,
  • Making customers/clients happy, and
  • Making sure all projects are profitable.

By extension, it stands to reason that management tends to have two rules when they think about CAD:

Management Rule #1: Anything that supports the goals above is viewed as good.

Management Rule #2: Anything that impedes the goals above is viewed as bad.


Translation? What Does It Mean?

Given management’s emphasis, you can understand why as the CAD manager, we must consider how CAD tools and IT technology can help get projects done faster and more profitably, and in turn articulate this information to senior management. This leads me to my first strategy:

Deal with Management Rule #1 by speaking calmly and logically in senior management’s language — emphasizing faster, cheaper, more profitable.

The second strategy is a little harder to arrive at, but it is also relies on linguistics. If a CAD manager relates details that are too far “in the weeds” or riddled with CAD/technology minutia, then management will zone out. To make it even more important, I have found that senior management often believes that if they can’t understand something, then no one can understand it and it must be slowing down projects. My second strategy is:

Deal with Management Rule #2 by making your case using just enough detail to stay on level with management and save the minutia for the CAD users who really need to understand it (and want to!).


Take Stock, then Talk

Now that we understand how to better communicate your CAD management needs to senior management, it’s time to take stock of your CAD management priorities and start asking the following questions:

  • What can CAD management do to speed up projects?
  • What can CAD management do to reduce errors/rework?
  • What can CAD management do to produce higher quality work?

Now, of course, the answers to these questions are likely to include the following:

  • Standardize CAD practices.
  • Speed data flow between departments.
  • Use templated projects to speed startups.
  • Use peer review and training to reduce errors.

These are probably rules that you’re already trying to execute, which begs the question: Why are they so hard to implement? I’m willing to bet you haven’t brought these items to your management’s attention using the communication styles I’ve used above.

Read on for a successful communication example and how to use these communication tactics in your office. Read more»


Tools and Resources

Gravity Sketch iPad App

Gravity Sketch recently launched it’s new 3D sketching tool for iPad, currently for free. To date, Gravity Sketch has been an immersive VR application. The company states that with Gravity Sketch on your iPad, you can sketch in 3D anytime anywhere, share a 3D model with a colleague, and make annotations on work in progress. The company hopes that this tool will bridge the gap between 2D and 3D sketching. With this app, Gravity Sketch users can now transition among desktop, mobile, and VR platforms to suit the task at hand and hardware available. Read more» ▼▼▼

Product Lifecycle Management: Disruptive Tech takes on PLMCIMdata's PLM Road Map & PDT 2021, held virtually on May 19 and 20, will examine emerging disruptive technologies such as digital twins, SaaS, cloud, hybrid, low-code/no-code integration platforms, model-based engineering, and more. This virtual conference will offers a mix of reports and case studies from teams of industry experts, covering technologies, processes, and people from within industries such as aerospace & defense, automotive, AEC, high-tech, and medical devices. Read more »


Plex-Earth for AutoCAD, Bricscad

Plex-Earth is an online platform for AutoCAD and now for Briscad that brings aerial and satellite imagery providers, such as like Maxar, Airbus, Nearmap, Hexagon or Google Maps, under a single umbrella, offering recent, historical, high-quality imagery and terrain data. Users can download a free trial and subscribe for an annual serviceRead more »

IronCAD 2021 PU1

The 3D CAD program, IronCAD, recently released IRONCAD 2021 Product Update #1 (PU1) which offers new capabilities in areas, including sheet metal, point cloud modelling, IronCAD detail drawing, and general 3D modeling with IronCAD’s drag & drop push-pull capabilities and its TriBall positioning and creation tool. Read more »
Point Cloud Primer

Geo Insight’s article. “The Future of Point Cloud Processing and 3D Models,” offers a brief intro to point cloud data, plus how to overcome the challenges in adopting point clouds and leverage all the rich data they offer. Read more»


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What's New at

Annual GTC '21 Show Report:

Part 1: NVIDIA unveils Omniverse along with new RTX GPUs to support the platformRead more »

Part 2: New RTX GPUs support Omniverse and bring next-gen computing power. Read more »


CPU Boost & Base Clocks: Why They Vary and How They Impact CAD Computing Performance

Herrera on Hardware: Explore the often overlooked differences in clocks as a function of core count, and why boost clock specifications deserve your attention. Read more »

SPONSORED: ZWCAD Helps Make Germany’s Highest Peak Accessible for Everyone

German company, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn Bergbahn AG (BZB), has been trusting ZWCAD to help them bring more adventurers up the Zugspitze Mountain and nearby mountains with their cable cars and railways since 2015. Read more » ▼▼▼

2021 Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users

NEW! Cadalyst's Fab Freebies for
CAD Users 2021
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The editors of Cadalyst, with help from our contributing editors and readers who are in the CAD trenches day in and day out, have updated everyone's favorite guide to helpful tools and resources that don't cost a cent. Download our guide and you’ll soon be asking yourself, “How did I live without this?”

The latest edition of the “Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users” guide has something for everyone, including unit converters, file and text utilities, PDF converters, BIM tools, CAD management tools, and more!  
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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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