CADDManager on February 13th, 2008

When we make a list of what we desire to do and what we actually can do – it may be a different list. Getting from the “desire” to the “done” of a project requires us to negotiate with others. When our desires come into conflict with someone else’s area, there may be some dialog on means, methods and movement. Getting something done demands working with others.

Working with others is often frustrating and can be disheartening. It can cause you to want to give up. When progress gets strained the achievement of the end goal can get compromised. When it comes down to talking it through with others some have taken an All or Nothing attitude.

All or Nothing is a negotiation method that might work in some cases, but not very often. It is seen as an ultimatum. It is seen as a challenge to someones authority. It can backfire and get you nowhere. When you slide over into an All or Nothing attitude you are playing an end game card. You are moving to the bottom line and asking others to give up. You are saying, “my way or the highway”.

This kind of perspective can truncate your forward movement. Especially if the other party can throw the Nothing card. I feel that nothing is over until its over. Even a hard “no” today can be softened over time. Calling for an end to the negotiations by deciding in your head or out loud that you are going for broke can cost you the game.

CAD Managers do this when they make statements like…

“The CAD Standard must be followed without any deviations, no matter what your client says”

“We never will allow nested XRefs in this office”

“There is no way that we can do what you are asking unless we throw out all of our customization”

These statements may have a place, but being flexible and continuing to talk allows for the creation of a win-win compromise. A slight deviation from a standard might allow a project to be profitable. (Don’t panic… I am not throwing out the standard, but allowing for a one project variance from the compliance. No global waiving of the standards). Finding a project type that could take some advantage by using “managed” nested XRefs may work out well. (Hotels, etc.) Adjusting the customization could yield added benefits to the overall workplace.

All I am saying is that the CAD Manager should not be the one that is stomping their feet, demanding their way or threatening to take their ball and go home. They may be the one that ends up with Nothing…

4 Responses to “BAD CAD Management Habits – All or Nothing”

  1. I agree in part, but there are times when you have to say, enough is enough, shape up or ship out!! You try to give someone a little; however, nine times out of ten they will do it again on the next project but this time without your knowledge! Standards are there for a reason, we have Company standards and specific client standards, we work though any CAD standard issues that may arrive, but the problem is, on a big project, with different offices around the country working on it, once you let one person slip into the routine of changing a standard others will follow

  2. I could not agree more. Sometimes the best fix is to draw a hard line in the sand. CAD Management is never a mechanical process. You have to judge each interaction on its own.

  3. Andy,
    I sort of agree with you. But I kind of understood the BLOG post to say just that. Yes, there is a time for putting the foot down. But more often than not you have to be flexible. What I find is that if your “rules” have merit (and by merit I mean a real, solid reason, not just “because I said”) then the CAD Technicians will follow them. If your “rules” don’t hold water, they won’t. I went through this with one of my techs. After showing him the “why” and the “how” of the “rule” in question I get great satisfaction when I walk by his desk now and see it being implemented because in the end it saves him time and effort. You can’t just throw in a bunch of “rules” with no reason. But if there is merit, yes you can put your foot down.

    Tim McDougald
    CAD Manager
    KMB Design Groups, Inc. p.s.
    Olympia, Washington

  4. I have found when a standard is first put into place, there will likely be an exception or a condition that was not considered. Enforcing standards is important, but there are always situations that warrant deviation or adjustments.
    A CAD manager should never be reluctant to answer the why of a standard. Getting your CAD operators to understand why is how you get them to discipline themselves better, meaning less policing for you.

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