CADDManager on June 22nd, 2011
This entry is part 5 of 17 in the series Principles of CAD Management

How many bosses do you have?  Please leave a comment and let us know.

Fayol postulated that everyone should have one boss.  He reflected that employees need to know that they have one person that will give them directions.  He believed that every employee should have only one superior. That the chain of command was a linear chain.  That the Org Chart was a pyramid.  That was then…  this is now.

Now we have matrixed organizations that have a mixture of teams, bosses, superiors, reporting structures and bottom lines.  You may report to one person but be on another team that has you reporting to that lead.  You may have one project that calls for you to report to one person and another project that requires you to respond to another person.  You may even have a team leadership model that has multiple bosses over multiple teams.

Any way you look at it, today is a mixture of reporting structures, flat organizations and shared bottom lines.  So is Fayol’s perspective no longer true. I think not.  Well at least not totally.

There really is one person that can command your time on any given area of your job. The first and maybe foremost is the person that can fire you.  They may be the same person that hired you, but it really is the one that controls your destiny with the firm that matters most.  They may take input from others on your performance, but they have to make the call on keeping you around and defending your value.

When it comes to CAD – the boss should be the CAD Manager – I say “should be” because it is not always that way.  The CAD Manager should define the CAD and BIM output (quality of files and models).  They do not define the content of the design,but they define the production means, methods and standards.  If we only lived in a perfect world :)

But when it comes down to the CAD Managers world, they need to press forward at being that bottom line.  Many will try to take orders from others or give orders to others on the standards, but it is the CAD/BIM Manager that should drive the bus.

How are you doing at being the “CAD Boss”?  Are you in charge?  Do you make the calls?  Can you stop production if things go wrong?  Let us know with a comment below.

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One Response to “One “CAD Boss” – Principles of CAD Management”

  1. Hi Mark,
    “Being the Boss” is one element of CAD management I have been thinking about for a long time in the UK where I work. I have found that almost all companies I have worked for pay a great deal of lip service to CAD, but when it comes to the crunch, they are not prepared to “put their money where their mouth is” and give me (the CAD manager) the freedom and the power to get on with my job.

    I feel there are several reasons for this, but the main one is that they just don’t understand CAD and because of this, they don’t really take it seriously enough. And why would they, unless they have used it extensively enough to understand? Another reason is that people see CAD, as drawings, not as data. Obviously they are, but this is only one element. This impression of ‘the artistic drawing’, lack of understanding and lack of taking it seriously, gives way to (perhaps more worryingly) the idea that anyone can have a go! A statement that strikes fear into the heart of CAD managers!

    This became alarmingly apparent for me recently when I landed a CAD management role in facilities management. After working there for a while, I found many of the key fundamental decisions had already been made before I had even started the role. We have no full time CAD staff, only engineers who use CAD once every two months or so and don’t understand what they are doing. I made my concerns and recommendations known to my line manager, but they were not forward on to senior management who really make the decisions.

    I understand that you need to make your mark in a new company and sometimes it takes time for people to trust you, but people are also hired for a reason (usually because they are an expert in their area) and this is generally true in the case of the CAD manger.

    A comparison could be made with an IT department. IT departments keep things unified and controlled which makes it infinitely easier and effective to manage whilst cutting down on potential problems. It may initially seem quicker to sort out your own IT problems, but in the long run, it just doesn’t work and they would have a mess of biblical proportions. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing and in many cases people only understand a fraction of the full picture needed to make sure things are executed correctly. The same applies for CAD. I have a relatively good knowledge of IT (as I expect most CAD technicians/mangers do) but I wouldn’t start telling IT mangers what to do and make key decisions for them that massively impact their system now and in the future. If I was in the position of making key decisions that would impact an IT department (and the rest of the company) I would at least extend them the courtesy of listening to them.

    Perhaps this is an issue of the professional and the manager relationship. I just feel the balance with CAD is generally not in the favour of the CAD manager and they quite often get the raw deal.
    In my current situation, perhaps I could have done more to make my point and put my foot down. At the time I just felt in a market where jobs are scarce and a baby on the way, I would just have to bide my time and keep my nose clean for the sake of job security. At least until I am through the probation period :o ).

    Sorry to rant, but I am really annoyed about this situation and I feel it is a problem across the whole industry. I have spoken to Robert Green about companies not using CAD technicians/professionals to produce their CAD and he feels this is not uncommon. I just feel this compromises the CAD manager’s professionalism and basically means they can’t do their job properly.

    If management and senior management want to be stubborn and won’t let CAD managers do the job they employed them in the first place, I suggest (although not great) “cover your ass”!

    I am certainly going to log and date my yet unseen concerns and recommendations; because if I am confronted by “why is it not working” in the future, I will come back with “here is the dated evidence that you did not want to see, that will explain everything”.

    Thanks

    Mungo

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