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Questions every CAD Manager should be able to answer...
on the spot

Most CAD Managers can tell you a few things, and they are not afraid to let their opinions be known.  But there are several questions that you need to be able to respond to whenever they are asked.  A quick, reasoned, measured and valid response that is direct and correct.

Here they are...

1.  What does the Company Standard say about ________?

Fill in the blank.  You should be the resident expert on your CAD Standard.  Every nook and cranny.  Every subject.  Every area.  I am not saying that you have to remember the exact linetype defined for the plumbing hot water supply line, but you need to know where to go to find out. 

You should have been the one who wrote it.  Or you may be the one that inherited it from your predecessor.  Either way - you need to be the Standards King!

2.  When are we going to upgrade our software?

You should have a plan for upgrading your software and a timetable.  Even if you are not planning on upgrading in the near future, you should provide a tentative date and be willing to follow through on that date.  It lends credibility to your environment and provides the early adopters in your office with a timeline.

3.  How do I ____________ in AutoCAD/ADT/LDT/Revit?

You need to be VERY familiar with the software in use in your office.  You should be the first person trained.   You should be involved in Beta testing the next release.  You might be the best CAD User in the office, but not necessarily.  If you are in a larger office, with several software platforms, then you may not need to be the expert in every nuance of every tool.  It is hard to keep up.  It is hard to know it all.  If you are loosing your grip on the tools then you need to know who knows the answers.  Get close to the experts in each tool.  Bring them onto your team.  Make them an ally.  Go to them when you need help.

4.  Why aren't we buying _______?  It is a great tool and I need to be using it.

You need to defend why you use what you use and why you do not use some software.  There are a lot of great tools out there.  Some may fit your environment and others may not.  you should be able to define why a tool does not fit.  You should be able to explain what should be used instead.  Don't just hide behind "tight budgets".  If you plan on purchasing a tool then let folks know when.  If you don't want to bring it into the mix then tell them why.

5.  Have you seen the latest version of _______?  We should move in that direction.  XYZ company is using it.  

This type of question usually comes from Management, after they have talked to a buddy from another firm or they have been to a software demo.  The same advice as above generally applies, but is expanded to include a valid effort to investigate the tool again.  If you have not looked around in a while you may need to get up to speed on the latest release of ______.  Another way to avoid these types of questions from management is to be proactive and get these software demos in-house so that you can field the questions and steer the conversations after the event.