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Thread: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

  1. #1
    100 Club Chris.Partin's Avatar
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    Default How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    I recently started working for a company that has about 15 people in the entire company and is a single discpline firm. The company I once worked for had about 140 people and was a multi-discipline firm.

    The company I once worked for I help develop the standards for over 14 of the 15 years the company existed. The company I now work for has been around since the 1960s and has had several standards, the most recent edition has been around for about a year or two.

    The company I once worked for had multiple CAD committees for each discpline and consisted of a variety of knowledge about AutoCAD. The company I now work for has two CAD techs and they don't really show any interest in 'developing' or 'reviewing' standards.

    So, how do you learn, review, modify, implement, and enforce CAD standards and procedures in a small firm as compared to one that was much larger and more complex? Going from a large group of people who cared and had vested interest in how the standards and procedures were laid out to a group that doesn't really care until it effects them?

    I know the answers to this will be various, but I'm more interested in all of those ideas and possibly helping others in my same situation (as well as myself) along the way.

    Thanks!

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    All AUGI, all the time TerribleTim's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    I've only worked at a small firm so my thoughts are skewed (always, but that's another story).

    I approach it the same way you would a bigger firm, but without the committees. As long as management buys in to what you are doing you should be fine. Your situation is the same one I found myself in when I landed here. Only a couple cad techs, sketchy standards at best and no real desire to do anything about it. I took it on, went to management and showed them the need and the reason for the need, then started developing my own standards based off what was here already. The trick is in getting the other techs to use it, that's where management's buy in helps. If they aren't behind you, no one else will be either. As for the actual standards, approach it the same way you would have before, just without all the input from the committee. Now it's a committee of one, YOU!

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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    Quote Originally Posted by TeriblTim View Post
    I've only worked at a small firm so my thoughts are skewed (always, but that's another story).

    I approach it the same way you would a bigger firm, but without the committees. As long as management buys in to what you are doing you should be fine. Your situation is the same one I found myself in when I landed here. Only a couple cad techs, sketchy standards at best and no real desire to do anything about it. I took it on, went to management and showed them the need and the reason for the need, then started developing my own standards based off what was here already. The trick is in getting the other techs to use it, that's where management's buy in helps. If they aren't behind you, no one else will be either. As for the actual standards, approach it the same way you would have before, just without all the input from the committee. Now it's a committee of one, YOU!
    but show your proposals to the techs and ask for their opinions - even if you then ignore their opinions.

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    100 Club Chris.Partin's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    Well, my goal is always to include everyone in the middle stages of development. Being the 'new guy' in the company allows me a chance to take some time and review what has been documented in the past and then start looking at current projects and see how those documented standards are being used (and if they're being followed). I spend the better part of two weeks reviewing and documenting more of the current standards and then another week or two making a list of suggestions and recommendations for additions and modifications.

    Now that I have all of that ready I can now begin presenting it to the CAD staff (of three including myself) and get some input. My hope is that I'll get some input, but I'm not going to be heartbroken if I don't. Once I get input I'll then go to management and present what steps I'd like to take.

    This is a very modified and abbreviated process as compared to what I've done in my 'previous life', and I'm hoping it will work out.

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    All AUGI, all the time TerribleTim's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    While I do agree that it's always good to get some input from the other members of your "team", keep in mind they are most likely going to suggest doing it "their way" which may or may not be the right way.

    The trick is to make them feel like they have input, but that doesn't mean you have to take it. Ultimately, if you are put in charge of the standards, that means you are in charge of productivity. My bet is that you have a good understanding of what is productive and what is not, don't forget that when listening to each user's input.

    I find new and sometimes better ways to do things every day. Some of them come from something one of my users does or a process they use, so never rule them out based on "who's in charge". But I also find an equal amount of bad ways to do things from them too. Ultimately, it's all about what makes EVERYONE more productive, not just the one guy.

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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    I agree with the above post - getting the other users is helpful to not only get there buy in but there use. Being a small firm, management might listen to them more then a new guy on the block also.

    from my perspective Cad standards are critical and will only help increase productivity.

    pat

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    All AUGI, all the time Richard McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    CAD standard in my opion should have one sole purpose, make drawing drawings look like they've come out of the same stable, in doing so they enable multiple draughters to work on a set of drawing seemlessly.

    If you have a firm with 1 CaddY then they are not necessary.
    If you have 200 draughters in multiple offices then they are very important

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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    Well, that's _one_ reason for a CAD standard, and if that's the defined goal of the standard, that's fine. IF and that's a really big IF, it meets the immediate and longer term needs of the business.

    However, that goal kinda ignores inter-organization interoperability, and presumes that sharing data or drawings between subs, primes, contractors, and team partners is not important. A standard that is focused more on the latter goal will of necessity have a very different approach both tactically and strategically.

    Either way is good, but they are not interchangeable, and to a certain extent they are mutually incompatible.

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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Statler View Post
    CAD standard in my opion should have one sole purpose, make drawing drawings look like they've come out of the same stable, in doing so they enable multiple draughters to work on a set of drawing seamlessly.

    If you have a firm with 1 CaddY then they are not necessary.
    If you have 200 draughters in multiple offices then they are very important

    Quote Originally Posted by cadtag View Post
    Well, that's _one_ reason for a CAD standard, and if that's the defined goal of the standard, that's fine. IF and that's a really big IF, it meets the immediate and longer term needs of the business.

    However, that goal kinda ignores inter-organization interoperability, and presumes that sharing data or drawings between subs, primes, contractors, and team partners is not important. A standard that is focused more on the latter goal will of necessity have a very different approach both tactically and strategically.

    Either way is good, but they are not interchangeable, and to a certain extent they are mutually incompatible.
    But, if the various subbies, partners, clients, et al are not already working together, they probably all have different standards anyway. In that case be prepared to talk to them and
    derive something that all can agree to.

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    Default Re: How does the process change from big firm to little firm?

    I've seen the designers/drafters just having a STD behaviour in small firms.
    A STD here doesn't mean standard, but
    Sit-down
    Turn on the PC
    Do it straightaway.

    For example, in such small firms, no one cares about
    1) Plot style
    2) Text style
    3) Sheet format
    4) Documentation (e-folder structure, even drawing name structure, etc.)
    5) Client concerns.

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