The last post I made on this subject got a few comments that hinted at this post (but I had not written it yet). This post is the reciprocal of that one. You may want to read that one first or read that one after you read this one.
One of the temptations and struggles that afflicts CAD Managers is to allow exceptions to the rules. By doing this, it erodes the stability and continuance of a consistent march in the same directions. But I do feel that some flexibility is called for. There will always be reasons to grant “variances” to individual standards and guidelines. If that is the case then they should be few and far between.
Pressing toward what I call “unification of your firm when it comes to standards” is something that you should always strive for. Here is one of my maxims.
Standards – Follow Them…
Every Office – Every Project – Every User – Every File – Every Day
This means that you constantly strive for perfection, but you realize that you may never achieve it and that others may not be able to either.
There are times when you have to grant some slack.
When you do – try to follow these concepts.
1. Don’t let repeat offended continue being repeat offenders. Don’t grant them a variance.
2. Never, ever violate a principle. The principles of your standard are things like the fact that you focus your efforts on getting the files out the door.
3. When you grant a variance – go back and fix it after the project milestone so that it complies with the CAD Standard.
4. Don’t grant more than one deviation per File/Project.
5. Variances can only be granted to someone in authority of the area where the variance is to be granted. So the PM has to ask for project variances. Users can only ask for file level variances.
6. Bring others into the conversation when you grant a variance. Discuss the need for the variance, the length of it and when it will be fixed. Get agreement from more than one person.
These may sound like strange categorizations for being flexible, but if you just allow haphazard variances to the rules you will soon forget who got what and when. By formalizing the process of flexibility, you stand a better chance of not be overrun with requests.
Can you think of any more guidelines for when or what to allow as a deviation?