CADDManager on January 27th, 2015

At the request of Melanie Perry and the AutoCAD Blogger Council… here is my day.  hashtag #CADdork

Started off with a bang – or maybe a whimper. My laptop has been dogging it for some time and I cannot figure out what the issue is. It is running slow and apps are hanging. It is really annoying. It culminated today in a browser failure or two. Firefox tanked. IE locked. I was getting blank white screen on Google. Nothing. But Chrome worked. Maybe Google had finally taken over the world, but I could find nothing about that in a Google News search 🙁

I have been cleaning and searching for what is causing it for some time. CCleaner, Malwarebytes, uninstalls and more (no luck). Since I recently installed AutoCAD 2015 (went very smooth), I even uninstalled A360, Autodesk Application Manager and ReCap. (They were not the problem though). Still having hangups. Outlook locks, browsers freeze. It happens about 15 minutes after I log in… so I disabled my cloud backup tool that is supposed to only use CPU idle time. We shall see what happens.

On to a meeting to discuss deployment of software tools that are not related to CAD. So not much detail here other than to say that time spent in prep and planning is never wasted time.

On to another meeting that seemed to be focused on planning for a future meeting 🙂 Here are the takeaways I saw from this meeting:

1. Not everyone is on the same page, even if they think they are
2. Defining terms is critical
3. Unified vision is so valuable

After that meeting I went to another meeting. My days are not usually filled with non-stop meeting. This was a unique day.  Anyway, this meeting was to discuss Google Apps and Google Drive and how we might embrace them for project workflow.

Not that much of a CAD Day… but that is what today entailed.

Finally, I sat down to go through email, journal my day and then think about this post.

Today was unique in the number of meetings but not unique in the interactions I have with people.  I as a manager and leader, must interact with others, clarify direction, define tasks, get things moving, and keep the focus where it is needed.


4 Responses to “A Day in the Life of a CAD Manager #CADdork”

  1. Hello Mark,

    I read two article you wrote for AUGI in January and February of this year. While I agree with most of the content, I feel the need to emphasize that, not all “seasoned” cad persons are teachers.

    That isn’t the primary reason for writing to you though. I’ve recently found myself in an unprecedented situation, at least for myself. I am the BIM manager for my company, with six years of school and nine years of professional experience. While I might be considered our resident expert, I’ve only trained individuals who have some kind of CAD background.

    A colleague has recently asked me to “show me the BIM ropes”. While normally I am happy to help a fellow draftsman, this person has zero CAD experience. It was also expressed that this learning would need to be “one or two hours a week over the next couple months” and “possibly Saturdays”.

    My world often utilizes AutoCAD, Revit, Navisworks, and sometimes BIM Glue 360. All of these are different from each other and all require a lot of learning. This was the first training requests that I’ve received that gave me extreme anxiety. Where do you start with a person who has no basic drafting skills, no formal schooling, doesn’t have a computer that could handle the programs, an unrealistic timeline/goal, and unfavorable personal(Saturday)hours?

    After careful deliberation and talking with other managers in my industry…I had to find a way to kindly let him down. After all I can’t commit myself to a goal that was sure to leave us both disappointed and/or frustrated. I encouraged him to first take some basic CAD courses offered at a local college.

    I’m curious to what your thoughts are in regards to this particular situation. What would you have done?

  2. Dragonfly,

    I think I would have done the same thing you did. Let him down as gently as you can while offering to help “occasionally”. As those that have “paid their dues” understand, the effort it takes to learn a new tool (or several) is a big investment. If this person shows the initiative to really dig in and take a class somewhere, then your occasional input will be appreciated. If they are just looking for a quick ride to the top, then they need to realize that there is none.

    On a side note… I am hearing more concerns about the lack of basic drafting skills. Not just the lack of CAD Drafting, but many have no understanding of drafting concepts at all.


  3. Mark,

    Thank you for your response. If my colleague takes my suggestion to heart and shows initiative by taking college course, it will provide a better environment to help occasionally. At least our conversations can have some meaning and not sound like I’m speaking alien, to an otherwise intelligent human being, with CAD and BIM lingo.

    I’ve had my fair share of learning from others and am still learning due the evolving technology and platforms. The common denominator with our kind is the investment, or “paid dues”, which doesn’t come without passion. It’s these individuals that are teachable, because who invest out of desire and not out of trend.

    It helps to know that I made a sound decision. It was rather difficult to execute and even harder to digest after. Hopefully the rift I’m feeling will dissipate. Again thank you for taking the time & giving me some sound advice.


  4. I was a designer/draftsman in a small mechanical consulting office and was responsible for developing and maintaining the office cad standard. I had 17 years experience when the company decided to move to AutoCAD. I have to admit that my people skills are not that good, almost non existent. My boss was a “hard-ass” who’s favorite saying was “Keep it simple.” What I discovered was that the most important thing about a standard is the delivery system, and the best delivery systems for a cad standard is the company AutoCAD menu. It is easy to enforce because that is the interface between the user and the cad drawings. If someone does not use the system, they crash and burn really quick. No one works in isolation. We all have to share the drawings. Users would from time to time, ask if they could do something different or thought that they had a better way to do some task. I would explain the issue and what would happen down the line if we accommodated their ideas. They would then complain that I was stifling their creativity. My reply is that they have not been hired to “play with AutoCAD, they were hired to produce mechanical drawings and can use their creativity to produce the most efficient system layouts.”
    I have been following Cad Management discussions for the last 30 years and “a delivery system” never seems to come up. The other thing I have noticed is that the quality of cad drawings has suffered greatly. The quality standard for hand drafting was always, double line ductwork, and showing flanges (a single line to indicate an elbow or tee) on piping. That doesn’t happen with AutoCAD drawings even though it is a simple thing to do. Sorry if I sound discouraged.


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