CADDManager on May 15th, 2012
This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series The Trials of a New CAD Manager

Becoming a new CAD Manager can be a joyous time in your career path.  You have finally achieved something that you have sought after for years.  You have been recognized by the firm for all of the contributions you have made.  You have gotten a title that you were seeking and know that you can serve the firm with success.

But once the title is bestowed, the troubles may begin.  Hopefully you may not see some of the trial that await you in your new position.  Hopefully smooth waters are ahead of you.  Hopefully your experiences will not mirror what I am about to discuss.

CAD Managers have trials.  Seasoned CAD Managers know how to navigate the choppy water that comes their way.  Early career CAD Managers who have to work through them as they come up without the depth of experiences can have troubles.  Trials come in the form of technology, timing, people, resistance to change and so much more.

Trial One: The Authority Challenge

When stepping into a new CAD Manager role you can expect challenge to your authority.  Sure, there might be some authority invested in the position, but it may not carry much weight.  If the position is new to the firm and no one has held the title before, it may have little or no authority.

Symptoms of this Trial:  Troubles in this area may display themselves in the following scenarios.

You are in a meeting with management and discussions of CAD process troubles and methods come up.  Everyone tosses out ideas as to how to fix the troubles.  When all the ideas are out there (including yours) you are told what to do by your boss or a project manager.  Even if you do not think the idea will work, even if you have a better idea, you have to do it their way.

You are talking with the front line employees and design team and they stumble over some early project setup methods.  They want to create some new ways of getting a project going.  They want to just jump in without planning or forethought.  You mention that you have been there before and can assist them, but they do not want to allow you that option and continue to move forward willy-nilly even when you state the flaws in their plans.

Your CAD Standard is solid and working yet you still see teams that avoid using it, set it aside and ignore the guidelines.  You go to their manager and outline your concerns, but the manager sides with his team and suggests that you find something else to worry about.

When this Trial comes your way:

Don’t lose heart.  Continue to provide input and advice.  Wait for opportunities to assist when your ideas are not followed.  When the team encounters troubles that you knew may come along, just give them assistance without rubbing their noses in it.

Look for understanding of their perspectives and ideas and see if they have merit.  When your ideas are not followed keep tabs on the team and see what they do that works.  Maybe your ideas were not the best.

Do not sulk and write off those that do not give you the authority to impact the flow of work.  Stay engaged.  Keep offering help.

Look for teams that do appreciate your help and build into them.  Those teams will interact with others and start promoting you and you CAD wisdom to others.  Soon the word will spread that you are a good person to have around.

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