CAD Manager's Newsletter (#186)

11 Dec, 2007 By: Robert Green

Autodesk University Report from 1051 Feet

IT and CAD manager positions meld, use of BIM tools increases, and of course, the pressure to increase production never yields.

It's become customary for me to write my Autodesk University (AU) summary while flying home to Atlanta from Las Vegas. But this year I took the overnight flight back, so I simply jotted down my themes, trends, and key conclusions prior to takeoff and then had a nap while flying. So although all my ideas were captured right after AU (who says everything stays in Vegas?), the details were fleshed out at 1051 feet above sea level in metro Atlanta. In fact, I've found that I like this method better because I still can capture ideas quickly yet have more time to analyze those ideas. Here goes.

Why AU Matters
"Why should I care about Autodesk University?" you might wonder. Users of SolidWorks or Bentley products, for example, may think AU has no bearing on their work because they aren't Autodesk customers. Fair enough question, to which I respond: How many opportunities do we CAD managers really have to collaborate with thousands of other CAD managers?

I've discovered that CAD managers are of like mind no matter what CAD products they manage. Problems like technology avoidance, budgeting, user training, and senior management communication are not specific to any software vendor, so I've found AU is a great place to take the pulse of the community. And to its credit, Autodesk has been very proactive in offering a wide range of CAD management classes and labs delivered by a variety of industry veterans. Read more>>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

Where can I find cool tips and tricks for CAD managers?

Robert Green replies: Good question.

I don't know one good single answer, but I have a few recommendations that have helped me quite a bit. If you readers have any more good resources, please email me and let me know.

Software manufacturer blogs and support forums. CAD vendors all have electronic support forums where users can post questions. The answers to these questions often yield great tips on configurations and utility programs. You may have to sort through these forums a bit to find the good tips, but they're in there. Read more>>

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

Juggling School for Project Managers
Rudolf Melik, the author of a new book titled The Rise of the Project Workforce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World ($34.95), points out that under a poorly managed project system, managers have no way to know what percentage of their projects are high risk, resulting in money spent simply to keep things going rather than completing value-creating projects. In the book, Melik offers a five-step process for project prioritization and selection: select your ranking criteria, rank your projects, balance your project portfolio, balance your capacity/resources, and prioritize your overall portfolio. The book is available at bookstores, online, and direct from the publisher. Rudolf Melik, currently serving as CEO, is one of the original founders of Tenrox.

Send us the address of your favorite Web site or other resource and a few words about why you like it. If we publish it, we'll send you a Cadalyst T-shirt!

:: Events

SolidWorks World 2008
January 20-23, 2008
San Diego, California
The SolidWorks World 2008 International User Conference & Exposition promises general sessions, more than 150 in-depth training sessions, 200 new products in the 9,000-square-foot Product Design Showcase, and more than 100 innovative solutions in the most expansive Partner Pavilion yet. A full conference pass is $995 with a $100 early bird discount through December 14. Read more

3D Collaboration & Interoperability Conference
May 15-16, 2008
Denver, Colorado
Industry leaders from manufacturers in automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment, high-tech, electronics, and other discrete industries, along with representatives from government and the defense community, will meet to share presentations and interactive panel sessions about real-world user experiences and solutions in 3D collaboration and CAD interoperability. Read more

24th Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC)
July 21-25, 2008
Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina
The CMSC is the only North American conference dedicated solely to users of portable, high-precision measurement technology used to inspect manufactured and assembled components on the factory floor. Each year, the CMSC community convenes to gather information and attend white paper presentations delivered by their peers. Read more

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events at