The Proactive Power of Surveying Your Users

23 Jun, 2015 By: Robert Green

CAD Manager Column: Get your users' input and give yourself a chance to solve problems before they become crises.


As CAD managers, we all have to deal with users reporting problems that we must fix. However, many of us labor at fixing these same problems day after day without making progress toward eliminating the root causes of those problems. So my question to you is: How can we get to the bottom of what is really causing our users' problems and fix them for good?

In this edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I will make the case that surveying your users can be the best way to find out what's troubling them, what the root causes might be, and how to prioritize those problems. Here goes.

What's Bugging You?

If you ask CAD users what their problems are, they will usually respond with whatever is bugging them at that moment. And as they tell you, they will emphasize why the problem is annoying to them — typically because it causes more work for them — without giving much thought to why the situation occurs. Our job, therefore, is to ask the users what their problems are, and encourage them to elaborate on exactly why they are experiencing the problem. As an example, here's a conversation I recently had with a frustrated AutoCAD user:

Me: "I understand from a project manager that you're having problems creating PDF files for construction document sets. What's the issue?"

User: "Some of my annotation and dimensioning text is missing when others open the PDF files that I create. Nobody else has this problem. It just doesn't work on my machine."

"So what are you doing to get rid of the problem?"

"We have one of the users in the mechanical area open the files and create PDFs for them at project wrap-up."

"Let's have a look at your machine."

After checking the user's PDF print driver settings, I found the settings as shown in this screenshot.

PDF print driver settings

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About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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Re: The Proactive Power of Surveying Your Users
by: jmaeding
June 24, 2015 - 4:35pm
Hi Robert, It makes you wonder why the people in need of help, do not simply ask for it without a survey. The bigger issues being availability of the cad manager to help, and the desire of the user to shield their reputation or lack of communication abilities by not revealing problems. The biggest gap I see these days is lack of a company standard acaddoc.lsp and also standard sets of tools/files on each machine, with support paths pointing to them. We need some kind of cad management certification thing that teaches how to make a stable, maintainable foundation for users at a given company or department.

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