CADDManager on November 10th, 2008

CAD Standards can be a very useful tool for getting all your team on the same page.   Making sure that all users know what to do and how to do it can streamline operations and make things run smoothly.

There are a few things that may make your extensive efforts are defining, refining and writing down you CAD Standard less effective and even useless.

A Useless CAD Standard is…

Not Complete

Holes in the standard force users to “figure it out alone”.  When that happens they chew up time and come up with some interesting solutions.  Differing approaches by users because the standard does not tell people what to do can make the document useless.  Soon users will lose faith that the book has any answers.  They will stop turning to it and just make up guidelines on their own.

The incomplete “blanks” will be “filled in” by your studios, groups and offices in various ways.  They may start sharing methods amongst themselves and not telling you.  They may start calling their friends at other firms.  They may start grabbing ideas off the internet.  There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these, but they defeat your unified process.  Each one takes a different perspective and none of them match.

This “difference of opinion” that creeps into your environment can be a killer.  When divergent methods appear in drawing creation, it makes it harder to share files between users.

Avoiding this trouble:

Find out what users are doing.  Ask around to see how what they think is missing from the standard.  They may not think that anything is missing, so ask them what they have been figuring out on their own.  These are the areas that need expanding.  They may ask questions about missing topics.  These are the areas you need to define.

You can also review your standard for holes.  Think of the entire process of putting together a set of files and what each step would take.  If it matters what the users are doing in each step and they are not doing the same things, then start talking each one of these areas out.  Get consensus on the topic and write it into the standard.

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