View Full Version : How to approach upper management about the importance of enforcing standards
2005-10-13, 10:19 PM
So I am currently trying my hardest to create standards for a company of at least 100 cad users scattered across about 4 states. Each office does thier own thing and it looks like things come from a completely different firm instead of one company. So I have recruted a couple of different people who share the same passion and have picked up this 35 year quest for standards. The last guy who started working on them got off to a good start, but of course nobody is using them.
This is something that the company wants and yet I fear that with the company I work for there will be no punishment for standards abusers. This is a very frustrating thing for me right now. One of the drafters in our office isn't even a believer that standards company wide is even possible, but he is also not one of our best cad operators. Somehow I need to convince the area manager and the executive committee that there need to be a 3 strikes and you out policy on those who will not conform to company drafting standards. Now this is a company who had held onto drafters for years, when they are clearly costing the company more money than they are worth. I guess for a "young" person like myself it is hard to comprehend the fact that you can keep a job and not actually do much at all and break the budget well over 50% of the time.
Does anybody have any suggestions on how to approach upper management about the importance of enforcing standards that they want to the point that if someone will not follow them they should be let go?
2005-10-13, 10:48 PM
If the standard is not happy to use. . . let it go.
Make a better standard.
: ) Happy Computing !
Good luck on your standards. The hardest thing about standards is using them. An easier way is a lot of custimization, which will make it more difficult to not follow standards than to follow them.
To convince upper management you will need to think like a Business Manager and not a CAD Manager. Develop a report of the ROI (Return of Investment) of using the standards and one for not using the standards. The dollar figure is what they are after, and what can reduce the employment costs while increasing profits either for themselves or the company.
2005-10-13, 11:42 PM
If you haven't already, I recommend browsing (subscribing to) "Robert Green's" CAD Management Newsletters via CADalyst...
CAD Manager's Newsletter (http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/article/articleList.jsp?categoryId=6719)
Column: CAD Manager (http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/article/articleList.jsp?categoryId=6732)
Have a good one, Mike
2005-10-14, 07:29 AM
I agree with Richardl
The more you can customise and automate the drafting process so that the designers are folowing your standards without realising the better. Here I have pretty much got it that designers have to go out of their way not to use the standards, easier to defend to management as well if someone doesn't tow the line.
2005-10-14, 04:04 PM
All I can say is that I know exactly how you feel. We have a very similar situation at my company. It is very frustrating. Especially when one of those people that thinks its impossible to enforce CAD standards company wide is the CAD manager!
2005-10-17, 11:20 AM
I have worked at 6 different large-scale engineering firms - all of them in the ENR Top 100 - and it has been a problem at all 6 companies. Not only that, but I have many associates in the business who share the same problem and frustrations you share.
I also share a lot of your frustrations, but it's a difficult battle to fight and one that needs a large driving force behind it with lots of grounding.
I would recommend trying to change your approach a little - I highly doubt that upper management would go for a "3 strikes" rule. You would definitely have to get the backing of a few other operators and setup a "committee" with regular meetings/discussions. Document everything and find the reasons why & why not to implement it - you have to be able to defend yourself if someone attacks your plan or finds a few holes in the system.
Believe it or not, but it's extremely difficult to find a good CAD technician - I've been trying to hire some for over 2 years now!
2005-10-17, 04:47 PM
My company is currently going through the same thing. Our problems are: finding time to do them, getting people to follow them, and actually making them. We developed a Committee between our offices (about 7 across the Atlantic coast) and it's more debate than decision, which is horrible. We have people that won't agree to things outside the committee and all that hub-bub, but our's is still a work in progress.
My solution (if I was in charge) is two things: 1) Make a document that distinctly indicates the standards and tips of how to use them (of which I am currently working on). 2) Since there are likely people that still work in 2005-6 like it's R14, have small training/informational seminars/meetings within the company. Maybe a well done Flash presentation for posting on a company Intranet showing how to it A-Z. While automation and customization may be useful and good, if they don't understand it, what's the use? OF course new versions don't exactly help the cause since things change and its a never-ending role, but it's part of the gig.
Granted, some of this is just a view through the magic mirror of dreams where everyone has time and money to do these things, but if you want things done right within the work you do, you need to get it done right from the ground up, which means the standards and how you present them.
My unfortunate position is that I'm very passionate about doing this and many others are not. My time is limited and I do what I can. If I could dedicate a month to doing it, I would.
Anyway...good luck to us all.
2005-10-17, 06:10 PM
I am glad others are in the same boat as I am... is it a boat or a ship? Anyway... I recieved an email from another co-worker and I guess in the big managment meeting the topic of a CAD Manager was brought up. Can you believe that a company that has multiple offices doens't have a cad manager. no wonder we are in such trouble. Anyway I am going to sit down with my supervisor and talk about the need for a corporate cad manager and how to get to that point. I feel my supervisor feels the same as I do, but he is just very passive in my opinon.
I know the battle is a long and horrible one but I belive that it is always in the best intrest of any company to have standards and a guide on how things should be done.
2005-10-17, 06:23 PM
By the way...I don't know how far into the ocean you are on this ship, but I put this together for a manual ToC. Granted, it's preliminary and will change as I go through filling it all out with the goodies, but it serves a good starting point. Maybe it helps someone, maybe it doesn't...
2005-10-19, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the TOC jhciotti - it looks really sharp and detailed the way it should be!
You got my kudos - definitely a great starting point!
2005-10-19, 05:24 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Now I just have to find time to actually flesh it out. We've got soo much work that I haven't had time to really work on it and it's only been 8 months since I started.
2005-10-19, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Now I just have to find time to actually flesh it out. We've got soo much work that I haven't had time to really work on it and it's only been 8 months since I started.I think it was probably about 7 years start to finish for our standards packet. I finalized it by the time I was here about 2 years, I believe.
;) I sort of got through issues quicker by not having any committee meetings, but, I realize that might not be an option in most places.
2005-10-19, 05:32 PM
I think it was probably about 7 years start to finish for our standards packet. I finalized it by the time I was here about 2 years, I believe.
;) I sort of got through issues quicker by not having any committee meetings, but, I realize that might not be an option in most places.
Well my biggest issue is that we have no CAD Manager per say and I work in a regional office. So its hard for me to really do anything. I'm starting to think I should just do it all by myself, give it to everyone and see what they think. But being at work means working on billable projects, and I have a hard time wanting to work at home when I can play.
2005-10-19, 05:36 PM
Well my biggest issue is that we have no CAD Manager per say and I work in a regional office. So its hard for me to really do anything. I'm starting to think I should just do it all by myself, give it to everyone and see what they think. But being at work means working on billable projects, and I have a hard time wanting to work at home when I can play.~nods~ I definitely understand that.
Our office was working with our corporate counterparts and management in both locations, but, too many people were clueless and the rest were dinosaurs ( ;) no offense intended to anyone with that terminology) with differing opinions.
I picked up the project after I'd only been here a short time, and slowly made changes to it as I got used to how things run around here.
Then, I had my management approve it, but, the corporate guy took offense that I'd taken charge of it, and tried to say that corporate is going to follow NCS, which is a lot more restrictive than what we need, imho.
I'm quite fortunate in that I don't have to stay billable. I probably bill to projects only 40-160 hours per year, depending on the types of projects that come through.
2005-10-19, 05:48 PM
Well our original standards hadn't been updated in about a decade, prior to be being here. (I started in '01 and the last time our CAD stuff had been touched by anyone was '97.) And it got to the point where we finally upgraded our technology in the offices enough such that it was easily feasible to have the offices work together, but then the way each office did things started to clash and...well I'm sure you get the picture.
We "had" standards, but they were for R12, and there was no real documentation maintained and now we're using 2005. And then as we worked on projects, moe and more started going wrong because people would clash and once we changed the way we did xref'ing, standards became a much bigger issue. So I started a movement with about 5 coworkers to start hashing it out, but then it hit corporate ears and lets just say at first we did well and now it's gotten to the point where over an hour meeting, the majority spends 45 minutes debating over something that really has no meaning. They all keep getting hung up on the wrong issues. It's like a bunch of politicians!! Anyway, I'm gonig to stop ranting now before I get carried away...lol.
2006-07-19, 03:47 PM
AutoDesk spent more time on programming how to draw a line from point A to point B, rather than spending time on automating drafting department production. That is the problem.
I have the same situation; I am a single user in my home. Who knows if one day I will have an office with 100 draftsmen? Right now, I want to draw my house. I want my drawing to look perfect and not to think that next time I will do it differently. That is why I need to find standards (free because I already paid a bundle for AutoCAD). But rather, guess what, I need to start thinking on letter size, dimensions, layout, etc, a minimum of four to five year process. By the way that was not written in the AutoCAD welcome paragraph. How long AutoCAD has been in development? I think I am loosing it.
AutoCAD is a multi-disciplined program. Supplying CAD standards for those numerous disciplines that the end user will most likely not need is not the focus of the software. Architects present their plans differently from Civil Engineers. And they present their plans differently than Mechanical Engineers. Autodesk is not in the business to develop standards. That is up to the individual industries. There are numerous resources available, just not necessarily free. AIA has a book for Architectural Graphic Standards.
Good Luck on your standards.
AutoCAD has gotten better by adding the dws...Each time someone saves a drawing it will check against that dws file...I have never used it, but it may be a way to remind the drafter that he/she needs to make sure he is within the standards...
2006-07-20, 01:08 PM
You may need to change your approach to the issue. Trying to get management to terminate someone for anything less than gross incompetance or misconduct is going to be a hard sell as it leaves them in a precarious position with unemployment review boards.
If your firm has some level of quality certification, like ISO9001, you are required to have standards and work instructions that complement them. Put your CAD standard into a Drafting Room Manual and write or revise your Work Instruction for CAD operations to say that all CAD work will comply to the DRM and any other applicable standards (Y14.100 etc.).
More likely than not, your pay increases are tied to reviews and make sure reviewers are grading on compliance with standards. If you can influence drawing control, make it a requirement to meet the standard before a drawing is accepted into the control system.
Your situation is not unique, unfortunately. Just look for ways to make compliance more pleasant than non-compliance (who gets the choice projects, who gets recognized/awarded, who gets the new 72" plasma screen monitor 20GB of RAM, etc).
2006-07-20, 01:51 PM
I don't envy your task ahead it must be difficult if your part of a large single officed firm let alone a multi regional one.
One idea may be to formulate a news letter to send to all employees asking if there is anything which they would like/ definately would not like to see in a company standards, or possibly a more detailed survey to find out what people are currently doing. Having obtained this feedback you can then create a draft standards manual and circulate to all cad managers for their feedback, perhaps go through this process a few times and then get the final copy published on a company intranet.
I think in any event people will only adhere to a standard if it is not a major effort to do so, therefore make it as easy as possible, provide new drawing templates with everything set up as it should be, have centralised tool palettes set up to conform to your standard text heights, dim styles etc.
I produced a standard for my previous firm, which had about 50-60 cad users and basically if a drawing was handed in to be checked and didn't conform then it would be given straight back and not accepted until it did conform, people soon got the message.
Iv'e been at my current firm for about 6 years, and which has only 5 cad users, so therefore enforcement is relatively easy.
I wish you a whole bucket load of luck on your endeavers to produce your standards but it will be worth it in the long run.
Steve is right...No matter how you approach it, it will be a daunting task...I think that this will take a long time and the focus of one person (or one person in each office) full time to get things better organized...
If you approach UM with 3 drawings...Two from a couple of the offices that do not comply with the CAD standard, then one that does...Show them the differences...Let them know that we have a standard in place to make things look uniform...Show them the sloppiness that occurs between everyone not complying...Make sure that they understand that these drawings represent the firm to those who wish to use the firm's services...
Imagine if someone recommends the firm because they got the compliant drawing...They recommend the firm to a colleague...The colleague gets the non-compliant version of the drawings...The colleague is upset because the drawings that he originally saw (clean, neat and organized) are not of the same quality...Granted it makes your life easier when you need to edit a set of drawings when it is compliant, but I think that the reputation of the firm will appease UM the most...
If you want, get down to the dollars and cents...Let them know how long it takes to decipher one of the non-compliant drawings...If you bill for this time, it will look bad because you are charging more than you need, plus the added time will effect the deadline...
To solve this problem will cost more now, but will save you in the long run...If you do bring cost into the equation, make sure you bring up ROI...Robert Green has some good stuff pertaining to that...
2006-07-20, 08:05 PM
Management is always worried about time and money. That is where you need to focus your arguments.
May I ask, and not wanting to spin the thread into another direction here, but have customized your installs to make following the standards easy? That may mean editing prototypes, templates, and/or tool palettes so that drawing with the standards becomes easier than drawing without them.
2006-08-02, 08:41 AM
Management is always worried about time and money. That is where you need to focus your arguments..
I would have to agree here the money is the key. You have to be able to show that it'll save money and even make it in the end. A long hard road lies before you but it is worth while doing it right and getting a result that benefits all. You may have to do some of the ground work a little in your own time to get it started. If the upper management see this they may be more willing to follow it through to the end.
I've always been a believer in the visual aid to make your point. Put together a plan with lots of pictures and graphs showing the good side as well as the bad and finish off with the biggy. This will save you X amount of spondoolies and increase the reputation of the company aiding in more work AKA bigger profits and even more spondoolies.
Good luck in your quest for a better system, just remember to make it workable.
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