There are several things that most users want from a CAD Manager. Of course they want the latest and greatest hardware and software. And they want killer training. But I want to go beyond the obvious to what I think are some pivotal items that Here is my list of the things that they want that make the biggest impact on the company and their environment.
All users and firms want someone who will take charge of the CAD environment and make progress toward some goal. The goals may differ from firm to firm but they must align with the firm and user needs. Leadership includes laying out a plan and moving decisively to achieve the goals.
No one likes to be lied too. I am not talking about bold face lying. I trust that no one really does that. But Users will be sensitive to the information or lack of info that comes from the CAD Manager. They want honest answers that don’t duck the questions. They want honest responses that address the problems. They need you to be direct and to the point (in a respective manner).
They want you to take ownership of everything that gives them problems. They want to pass their problems on to you. They want you to fix them and get everything back on track. CAD Managers that refuse to “own” their systems only create more problems. Every problem that occurs in your office related to CAD is really “your” problem. If it is not a work stopper, then take on the problem and let them keep working. Get back to them with the fix ASAP.
They want you to know how to diagnose and fix troubles. They want you to analyze and work toward a fix. Reduce the problems to their root cause and then evaluate corrective actions or workarounds. What they really need is for you to get them back to being productive as soon as possible.
They want you to pay attention. They may not say it but they want you to be attentive to what they complain about and seek to alleviate those annoyances.
They want you to do this before they ask. So listen to what they are saying and what they mention that sounds like it may soon be a problem. Keep a sharp eye out for telltale signs of frustration. Ask them what is going wrong. In fact, don’t even wait for signals, just ask them from time to time what is not working.
They want to see progress on issues. They don’t necessarily need to see instant results, but they need to see things progressing along. If you say that you will be updating the layer list, then make it happen. If you are not going to focus on something, don’t make any promises that you will. (kind of goes back to the honesty thing)
Sometimes the users just want to be left alone. The pace of software upgrades and changes in the CAD arena demand a lot of learning and effort on the part of your users. You need to give them a respite from the fast paced world of CAD releases.
They want to feel like you are on the same team. I have heard stories from users that their CAD Managers treat them like inferiors or kids or losers. This is obviously not a good situation for happy users. They would rather work in an environment where communication flows freely and openly. Where you keep them involved and informed. They would rather work where it is a collective team working toward a common goal.
This is the glue that holds the whole thing together. It means doing what you say you are going to do. Taking responsibility for issues and working together to make your CAD environment a successful one.