Civil 3D Beatle

Adventures in Civil 3D and AutoCad Management

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

12 O'Clock a meeting, 'round the table...

How would you communicate to your management team about moving forward with Civil 3D? Would you tell them to abandon some of their old habits in order to make it a success? I think you would have to unless you were setting yourself up for failure. Here are some things I think it is necessary to tell your projects managers and department heads before moving forward with a full implementation of Civil 3D...

  • Give Them A Deadline - In order to create effective CAD management and design standards, your company should move away from the older CAD programs and conform to a single version of CAD. You can begin to realize this by ensuring that all new projects started after an approved deadline are created with the Civil 3D software and stored on the Vault server.
  • Talk About CAD Standards - As your company continues forward using Civil 3D 2008 and Vault, new standards and best practices will be developed and they should be recorded in a new Civil 3D CAD Standards Manual. This will provide a centralized, easy-to-access location for your company to build a new knowledge base for Civil 3D.
  • Mention The Learning Curve - Civil 3D 2008 is different from all of the previous CAD programs. It will require that each team think differently about existing processes and develop new workflows to fully take advantage of the 3-D civil engineering model. There is potential for a significant learning curve for some users and they may have to “re-learn” how to do some tasks / parts of their job.
  • Have the PMs Adjust Their Deadlines (If Possible) - Project Managers should try to adjust their submittal and milestone deadlines on all new projects with some buffer time to compensate for the learning curve associated with Civil 3D and Vault. Team members will encounter issues they have never had to deal with before and if they feel are too pressured to meet deadlines they may revert back the old software instead of learning new skills in Civil 3D.
  • Get Some Power Users - Your company should have two to three “power users” per team - depending on the size and scope of the team and projects they deal with. These are users who have attended training and / or worked with Civil 3D and will be able to help individuals / teams troubleshoot issues with Civil 3D and Vault. Although your company will be learning a lot in the first few months, teams will get caught up and the rhythm of production should return to normal quickly.
  • PMs Should Monitor Their Teams - Traditionally, Project Managers have not concerned themselves with what version of software was used to create the CAD drawings. They just want to see the final product. This must should change for the first four to six months while the new software is being implemented. Project Managers need to actively monitor and be aware of what CAD software is being used on each new project. They should report any issues / problems that need in-house assistance or outside consultation to the CAD Manager so they can be resolved as quickly as possible.
  • Hold Weekly Meetings - Project Managers should hold weekly meetings with their team to discuss Civil 3D / Vault “Lessons Learned” and best practices. This will facilitate better communication between team members regarding new skills sets, processes and problems areas they have encountered while using Civil 3D. This will also give the Project Managers the opportunity to monitor the pace at which their team is learning the new software. If team meetings are used to address other issues, it may be appropriate to appoint a Senior CAD Technician to report to their respective project manager each week with a progress report.

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