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Building a CAD Support Team

Many of us are lone rangers in the support business of CAD.  We have to pull double, triple duty or beyond to keep the ship afloat.  Others have dedicated help to get the CAD job done. 

Whatever your surroundings and setup you need to have a team of folks to make things happen.  This month we look at setting up the teams and pulling together the troops.

The CAD Groups (or whatever you call them)

Set up a system of small groups to assist in the Leadership of CAD.  Having a strong CAD decision-making structure in place can force business people to think of CAD's role in the overall enterprise (not just location or division by division). It can also better align CAD strategy with corporate strategy—making sure that they are one and the same.

Group One:  Corporate CAD Liaisons

  • Two people from each discipline. 
  • Get together on a regular basis and discuss new software, Standards, Projects, LISP Routines, etc. 
  • These people are pivotal to getting the job done.
  • They are an extension of you. 
  • Commission them to be your deputies. 
  • Pour into them the need for holding the line on CAD Standards. 
  • Gather information from them on the impact of your decisions. 

Group Two: Department Managers

  • Get together once a month or so
  • Discuss technology issues as they affect Design
  • Discuss training issues
  • Discuss workload
  • Discuss what will be happening in the future
  • You may need to do this over lunch - time is precious to this group

Group Three:  Corporate CAD Standard Review Committee

  • This may be separate from the CAD Liaisons or the same group
  • It may be he CAD Managers from all offices gathering once a week via conference call to develop and refine the corporate CAD Standard. 
  • This team will haggle and argue sometimes, but come away in agreement as to how the company will standardize CAD use.

Group Four: Corporate Management Team

  • Much less formal team of office managers and division managers. 
  • Interact with them on a one on one basis since it is hard to get them all together in one place at one time. 
  • Find out the current flow of production between offices and if a location needs special attention.
  • Try to find out what technology successes they have and spread them to other locations

Group Five: The Inner Circle

  • Leaders have an inner circle - This is not a negative thing.  These people are key to your success.  A smaller group to gain insight, get things done and rally the troops. 
  • Leaders typically check with 3 to 4 key persons before making a decision.  Having too much input is as bad as having too little.