The CAD Managers Bag of Tricks
Am I dating myself with "old school"
cartoons like Felix the Cat? Felix had a bag of tricks and many
times the CAD Manager is expected to have a similar bag of tricks.
Anyway, you need gather a bag of tricks that you can
tap into before you need it. These may include the following
items that you need to have in your bag in case of emergencies:
1. Backup files - with easy access. You
need to have a scheme for getting to your backup files quickly. if
you have to call the IT department and wait for them to get you on their
long list of support issues, this may not be the best answer. You
should have access to all the files and systems for getting files
quickly. Project Managers as well as users will appreciate your
fast recovery time.
2. A technical support contract - with
someone who really knows the software and can get you answers.
Face it, we cannot know everything. You need a partner that can be
your backup in case you are stumped. This could be provided by
your reseller, or Autodesk, or maybe your training contacts. The
few hundred dollars per year will be happily spent if you can have some
quick answers to tough questions.
3. A good memory - or a good organization
system. So you can track down the answer from the last time
something similar to this has happened. The answer you are looking
for may be in your own tech notes (you are taking notes when you figure
something out - right?). It may be in the head of one of your
users (so I remember who had the last problem and ask them what the
answer was). Or it may be in the book (I make notes in my books
and have sticky flags all over them).
4. Small hardware supplies. Like a few
extra mice, or power cords, power strips, monitors, mouse pads,
USB cable, whatever. These are items that fail from time to time and you
should know where to instantly go to get a replacement. If you
have to order these things, your user will be unproductive while they
wait. If you have to "run to the store" it is not good. Keep
a small stock of stuff like this on hand.
5. Tech Tool Kit - wrenches, screwdrivers,
connectors, plugs, etc. Make sure you have the tools to crack
open, reconnect, tighten and adjust things.
6. Copies of all critical support files.
Don't totally depend on your network security and backups for those
critical files. I keep a complete copy of my CAD Support files
from the server on my local hard drive. It has rescued me a few
times when someone, somehow deleted critical files.
7. A memory stick/flash drive/USB device with
critical files on it. Keep it in your pocket. Use it to
transfer files from one machine to another. Keep a copy of your
web site favorites (or bookmarks for Firefox) folder on it so you can
get to your sites from another machine.
So keep these and other items in you bag of tricks
so that others can continue to work and get the projects out the door.