CADDManager on March 25th, 2009

Many things can get in the way of creating or modifying a CAD Standard. Here are a few…

Lack of senior management support

This is the number one killer when trying to develop CAD Standards. What does this look like or sound like? It will be those who actively seek to derail or squelch any progress toward a standard. They may not know that they are doing it. It may just be offhand comments from senior people, like “we tried that before” or “it will not work” or “people will never follow it”. These kinds of comments suck the life out of those who are striving to get everyone on the same page.

It may be more active in comments like “these do not apply to me or my project” or “it will slow us down too much to use standards” or “standards have a negative impact on creativity”. These comments are sometimes pointed directly toward a desire for the lack of constraint.

Other type of lack of support may appear in just the absence of encouragement. Statements like “that is your thing” or “I don’t need to be involved” can make your job harder.

When you encounter these issues, try to respond positively in private. Let the person know that the need for a standard is valid. That the lack of one is impacting productivity and time spent doing CAD tasks. These issues equate to a loss of money through wasted time.

Lack of agreement about what CAD standards should cover

Some attempts are stifled by disagreements on the basics and the level of standardization needed. The process you need to go through will discuss this issue and seek to gain consensus on the need to dig and how deep to go. I will cover this process as I continue this series.

Company or Departmental resistance

Your firm may have a culture of freedom when it comes to CAD. They have gotten where they are without a standard and there is no need for one now. Explain that the company cannot expand, share project work, snap people on and off jobs without some level of agreement on what should be done.

Sometimes it is just one department that seeks to not be fettered by a standard. Talk to them about unification across departmental boundaries and how it will help them to get unified input from others and that they need to unify the output to other departments.

Lack of desire to standardize or unify

There may be a general lack of desire for standards. They may be discussed, but no one really cares about making them happen. Or it may be that each little group has a way of doing things that they want to hold on too. When this happens – stress that unifying the process will encourage expanded production. You may end up with a few versions to your standard, but they will be variation on a theme so that when one person moves from one standard to another, 85% of it is the same.

Those who think it is too big a task

A few may think that it cannot be done. It is too big a task. Just remind them that it will be taken on slowly and step by step. Standards do not need to spring fully grown, they can be grown into as the need arises. Starting slow and breaking the large job down into smaller tasks can alleviate this concern.

All in all there will be resistance to standardizing if your firm has not done it before. This is not a reason to run, it is a call to progress in a manner that addresses the concerns as you make progress.

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