CADDManager on January 11th, 2008

CAD Managers have to bet on things all the time. And that is not just because Autodesk University is in Las Vegas.

I am all for planning and proactively mapping out where you are going to be in the future. By planning your workload and prepping for the next phase of technology upgrades you can avoid the unexpected from happening. But even when you plan ahead, map out the steps, effectively manage the process of change, there will be times when you have to roll the dice. You have planned enough, thought enough and thought through the possible and probable scenarios of any given task. Now is the time to flip the switch and put something into place.

On some issues, even with all your planning, you need to throw the switch with a few unknowns in place. This is when a CAD Manager has to “bet the farm”. The term is an American creation that comes from the concept of placing your entire future on one event or decision. If it succeeds, then you have much success. If it fails, then you will experience a major setback. “Betting the Farm” is not something you want to do a lot.

Sometimes you may be betting the farm without realizing it. These times may come and go without you even noticing if nothing happens while the bet is on. Let’s look at a few that might bite you…

You Bet the Farm when you…

Upgrading Software without enough testing.

When you make changes in software that are not tested, you could cause unforeseen problems. Testing software deployments and modifications is often tedious and mundane, but if you fail to properly test the environment that you are changing you could see failures. Take the time to test everything before you deploy it. Test it in a non-production environment and then in small chunks of users in production. Once you have enough positive feedback (or lack of negative) you can roll it out to all.

The biggest time this will bite you is when you think it is a no brainer, slam dunk, done deal. When you think there is nothing to worry about – start worrying. Don’t take anything for granted. Be systematic in your process. Do one thing, check to make sure it is working, then do the next. Do not group a bunch of changes together before you test them.

Not checking on CAD Standards compliance.

No one is perfect. No CAD files are perfect. Following the standard is tough. You need to check on it. If you bet the farm that everyone is reading and following your standard, you may fall into very bad times. You need to check on things. Put in place a process for checking the files. What to look at and when to look.

Think the New Release of Software is perfect

When you upgrade you have no idea what you are going to get. The software will contain new features, improved tools and expanded functionality. But it will also contain new troubles. You may be trading in your old problems for new ones. When you upgrade – don’t assume that you will be problem free. Anyone who has been down the upgrade road knows that the “tolls” may carry a high price.

There are more of these that may come to your mind. Feel free to post a comment and let us know…

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