CAD Manager's Newsletter (#468)

26 May, 2021 By: Robert Green

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same!


Find out how the CAD management job has changed (or not) through the years; and how changing with the times is important. 

Recently, I was a guest speaker on a podcast where I was asked, “What has changed in CAD management and what has not?” While the question was asked because of my long history in the industry, it made me wonder if understanding what is changing (or isn’t) could inform and improve how we do our jobs. In the end, I concluded that if you know what IS changing you will know what to focus on vs. what to leave alone and not worry about.

In this edition of The CAD Manager’s Newsletter, I’ll relate my experience of how the job has or hasn’t changed and provide some tips along the way. Whether you’re new to CAD management or have a lot of experience, I hope you find a few nuggets of wisdom. Here goes. 

Image source: jan_s/

The Bedrock of CAD Management

The absolute bedrock requirements of CAD management are the same as ever and include:

  • Managing standards,
  • Training users,
  • Updating hardware, software, peripherals, and
  • Keeping projects on track.

But, the tools required to perform these tasks have substantially changed, such as:

  • Standards used to be written procedures, but now they are typically automated workflows or part of CAD and BIM templates.
  • Training used to be in person but is now often remote or video-based.
  • In the old days, keeping software, hardware, and peripherals up to date was done by the CAD manager, but now it is likely to be an IT function.
  • Project support used to be done on site using the “walk-around” method, but now is usually done remotely.

On one hand, you can say that CAD management hasn’t changed or, on the other hand, you can say it has dramatically changed. You could even say that the tools have changed but the mission has not. All three statements are true.

Tip: Always keep the bedrock responsibilities of your job in mind, but don’t be afraid to embrace new tools that help you fulfill those responsibilities.


Recent Changes — What’s Changed and When?

During my 30-year career in CAD management, almost everything concerning software, hardware, networks, and information distribution methodologies has changed. But, let’s refine our discussion and talk about the past decade or so. These changes include:

  • Information distribution via cloud tools and the plethora of accounts and security metrics required to make these tools work well.
  • The blending of modelling, rendering, analysis, and annotation output into a single ecosystem rather than different departments.
  • Extreme new workstation power running at the mercy of slow and latency-prone wide area networks.

Taken together, users have become empowered with unprecedented speed and diversity of applications at their desktop, but can be hampered by slow internet connections and clunky network security. CAD managers have had to spend more time managing the security and network performance in recent years than the applications that allow users to design and innovate.

Tip: Focus your attention on making the cloud, security, and network hassles go away as much as you can by working with IT to make the environment better.


What Never Changes — The Human Condition.

Many human beings — if not most — don’t like change. Getting people to learn new things, abandon bad habits, follow procedures, and stay on schedule can be as difficult today as it ever was. I’m fond of saying that CAD management often isn’t so much a technology problem as a psychology problem, and that certainly hasn’t changed.

It seems CAD managers will always have to work against the human condition by providing compelling reasons to change behaviors and create best practices to make change non-threatening.

Tip: In business environments where less is done face to face, you must really focus on communicating what needs to change and why and you must continue to do so over time. Thank of yourself as marketing CAD change and realize that good marketing must be repeated to be effective.

Keep reading to find out how to inspire users to use CAD standards, avoid the biggest mistakes, and what traits a good CAD manager must have. Are you up to the task?  Read more»


Tools and Resources

GRAPHISOFT's Women in Architecture Interviews: Parts 1 & 2
GRAPHISOFT presents an important discussion about the unique experiences of black women in architecture, featuring Tiffany Brown, founder and CEO of 400 Forward, a non-profit organization that has made recruiting young black women into the field of architecture its mission. Tiffany also serves as the executive director of NOMA, National Organization of Minority Architects. This panel also includes GRAPHISOFT Student Ambassador, Shanelle Reese. Watch the full interviews, moderated by Leeswann Bolden, Senior Professional Services Consultant for GSNA. 
Watch the Interview, Part 1
Watch the Interview, Part 2


BLOG WATCH: Austrian Firm Uses BricsCAD Through Construction Process

This month, Bricsys highlights Austrian firm, Strabag, that uses BricsCAD software from start to finish, including the construction phase.  Read more


VIDEO: Rocket Design Meets Additive Manufacturing

Join Launcher, Ansys, and VELO3D for a recorded session discussing the synergy of modern simulation software and the latest in metal manufacturing solutions. Launcher, a manufacturer of high-performance rockets, is developing a rocket to deliver small satellites to orbit. Launcher used Ansys CFX software for design with VELO3D’s metal additive manufacturing solution, so that engineers were able to print and test the parts. According to the company, by combining the power of optimized design and modern manufacturing, Launcher is quickly reaching their goal of creating the world’s most efficient rocket. Watch the video » ▼▼▼


AIA Conference on Architecture 2021
Virtual Event: June 17, July 8, July 29, August 19 

A’21 is an international event that brings together leaders in architecture, design, and beyond to define the year ahead. The AIA has curated a lineup of speakers and sessions to help your business in a challenging economy. There’s also one-on-one consults with building product manufacturers (apply during registration), opportunities for real-time connections, and virtual activities throughout each day.


One ticket gets you into all four days. The program will be live streamed each day including two keynotes, your choice of seminars, product demos, networking events, and more. If you miss a session, keynotes and seminars will be available on-demand for 30 days following each event. Find out more»


BETA READY: Autodesk Tandem, Digital Twin Solution  
Autodesk introduced its public beta of Autodesk Tandem, a digital twin solution designed for AEC professionals and their customers, the owners and developers of the built environment. The end goal of this technology is to have ready-to-go operations that help owners get the most out of their investment, whether it’s a bridge, facility, building, or any other structure.
Autodesk Tandem uses building information modeling (BIM) data created throughout the project lifecycle essential to creating a true digital twin of the asset. At the project’s completion, the project team can deliver a comprehensive digital handover to owners of easily accessible and insightful data, accelerating operational readiness and empowering better business decisions.
Apply here»


What's New at

Sponsored: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers

Bentley Systems introduces its new educational program designed to excite and inspire students of all ages and encourage them to discover their inner engineer. You’ve heard that around the world our engineering workforce is aging and that there is a need for new engineers, designers, and builders. We need new engineers and thinkers who are curious, inspired, and interested in solving real-world problems to consider the industry now and maintain that industry knowledge. Bentley’s Education Program is a forward-thinking solution to help solve this current issue and in turn also encourage a diversity of thought and experience coming into engineering and infrastructure. By Lara Sheridan  Read more » ▼▼▼

CPU Boost & Base Clocks: Testing CPUs for CAD, Part 2

Herrera on Hardware: This month we test and analyze two systems with three different SKUs, weighing the specifications for core count, base clock, and boost clock when evaluating a CPU for CAD. By Alex Herrera  Read more »

2021 Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users

NEW! Cadalyst's Fab Freebies for
CAD Users 2021
Why buy it if you can get it for free!

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!  
Download now »


About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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