CAD Manager's Q&A: What Do I Do First?

27 Jul, 2005 By: Robert Green

I've just been promoted the CAD manager. What do I do now?

Robert Green answers: That's a great question And one that's not easy to answer. Of course, a brand-new CAD manager has many things to do and learn So here’s a list of a few things I would concentrate on, in no particular order.

  • Realize your strong CAD skills are your most well-developed asset, so spend less time worrying about CAD and more about management.

  • Realize that the CAD management job is a difficult one.  You must be responsive to users’ needs and management's expectations while keeping your sanity at the same time.  If the CAD manager's job seems tough, that's because it is!

  • Start thinking about the things that will affect you in the future.  As you fight today's fires, think about preventing tomorrow's.  Being proactive is the best trait a CAD manager can have.

  • Learn more about your company's business objectives.  Is it expanding?  Is it diversifying?  Will it be buying branch offices?  These sorts of factors can profoundly affect your technology planning.  And remember, you're trying to be more proactive, so knowing where your company is going is crucial.

  • Embrace standardization and procedures.  Realize that you'll never control things until you can standardize them.  Realize that well-written procedures reduce training and support costs, thus keeping you sane.

  • Get management to help you.  How?  By asking for their help.  You may be surprised to learn that management wants you to succeed as much as you do!

Please take notice that these action items require you to think in more ways, and more strategically, than you likely have in the past, which seems really tough at first.  It has been my observation that truly great managers can deal with problems that confront them today while being able to plan for future business environments.  As you become more comfortable with thinking in different time frames it will become more natural.  Trust me!

P.S. I've been a CAD manager for 16 years, and it still frustrates me sometimes!

Editor’s note: New CAD managers also might find it helpful to peruse the archives of Robert Green’s CAD Manager’s Newsletter and his CAD Manager’s column from Cadalyst magazine -- always available on Cadalyst’s Management Web site.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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