CAD Manager Q&A: Setting Realistic Expectations

24 Oct, 2006 By: Robert Green

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My management wants me to start moving toward a 3D system implementation, but they seem to think this will be easy. How can I communicate the complexity of the situation without seeming like I want to slow our progress?

Robert Green replies: The key point communicated in this question is that when your management wants you to go to a 3D system, they expect immediate results -- even though it's likely you’ve already spent years trying to get moving on 3D. Your responsibility is now to help the company transition into new technology while keeping the business running and profitable. I’ve likened this task to changing a tire on a moving car!

The only way I know to approach the problem is to study, benchmark and communicate everything you can about making the switch while keeping your management firmly in the loop. The key thing is to set management expectations at realistic levels so you can live up to them, rather than floundering by trying to meet unrealistically rosy expectations. The key points you can use to start the conversation are as follows:

  • Not everyone can go to 3D at once, because the company can’t make the switch that fast without shutting down production.
  • Not everyone on your staff will be enthused about the switch, thus causing staffing and training issues.
  • A host of other processes in your company will have to change to keep up with 3D: new viewers, new integration with shop tools, new rendering utilities, clients who still need 2D DWG/DGN files as deliverables, and so forth.
  • You can’t just install a 3D software system and walk away from it assuming everyone will “learn it in their spare time,” as others might expect.

I encourage you to take these items to your management and have a frank conversation about your concerns. Start talking about these issues now, before you’re mired in expectations you can’t meet and that were unrealistic in the first place. You’ll be off to a good start!

Author’s note: I’ve been getting a bunch of 3D questions lately. Watch upcoming issues for expanded information on today’s topic as well as additional Q&As on other 3D-related topics.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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