CADDManager on September 14th, 2008

6. Files are leaking out of the system

Your project teams are taking files out of your office. I have no doubt about it. They have access to USB drives or other means to get the files out and then get them back in. They are taking them home in the evenings and weekends. They put them on machines that you do not have control over and then they copy them back to your network. This can be a security risk and an invitation to infect your servers and machines. Plugging these holes may not be your job if you are not IT proper, but you need to let them know about it. If it is your job to stop this kind of threat, then focus on reducing the amount of files heading out and preventing infections from returning with them. Strengthen your networks prevention of viruses. There is software that will also eliminate USB incursions.

7. People are using software that your firm does not own

Downloading and installing software is very easy these days. Bringing in personal software and installing it can also be a concern. Using software that your firm does not own on project data is not a good idea. You should have a policy that outlines what is approved and what can be used. It should also state that personal software is not a valid company practice. The concern is that if that person leaves, you will be caught short. It also may violate the policy of the software that the person has purchased. Some software is sold as educational and should not be used in a commercial setting. Sniff out this software with some form of asset management software (search for this topic on Google). Review what is there and get rid of the stealth installs that can cause problems.

8. Your users don’t know as much as you think they do

Trained and ready. That is at least what you think. You spend a ton of time and money on training. You do lunch and learns. You do user group meetings. You do just about everything you can to get people to learn what to do and not to do. And yet – they still get it wrong. Your users are just like every other office. They don’t learn everything you teach them. They learn a portion of it. And the portion they learn may not be the areas that are giving you troubles. Stay focused on training, don’t give up or it will get worse. You will reach many and the ones that “get it” will help others. Collectively you will be raising the bar for your entire firm.

9. Consultants not using the software you thought they were

I was in a meeting a while back and we were discussing software use for the project with our consultants. They all agreed that the standard platform was 2005 (the tool of choice at the time) and they all nodded their heads. We kept probing because we had some troubles with some of the files. They again reaffirmed that the version for transferring files was 2005 based. I kept probing and asked what software they were actually using. After a few silent moments, one of them stated that they were actually working in AutoCAD 14 and converting it up to 2005 in the one copy that they had and then shipping it out. No one in their firm was actually using 2005, they just opened the file and saved it down in 2005 and sent it to us. That is when we discovered the real reason we were having troubles. The conversion up was not working well. The firms that you work with may not be using the same software that you are thinking they use. Ask the deep questions.

10. There is an invisible CAD Support process that has replaced you

Others are answering the questions that might be best to go to you. There are “go to” people in your firm that you may not know about. Are they answering the questions the way you would? Are they supporting the standard like you would? How often are people going to them and not you? Why are they going to others and not coming to you? Are you easy to approach? There will always be a need for users to share information with and help other users. This is a good thing. But if the users are going to them more than they are coming to you, then you may have a problem. Stay in touch with the front line users. Walk around and make yourself available. Keep asking if things are going well. Keep your eyes open to see who they go to for answers. Get the “go to” folks on your team.

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