New CAD Software Advice for Managers




It’s funny, even though newer CAD software might be way more intuitive and easy-to-use, and even though there might be wonderful training resources available to help a team get comfortable with the new system, you can still run into a lot of resistance.

Your team is busy and efficient. They don’t want you throwing a wrench in their work while the workload is piling up.

That’s where a manager can really help.

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In part one of this series, we outlined some benefits of keeping CAD software current. Part two explored learning delivery methods that help teams adopt new CAD systems, without tanking productivity.  In this post, we look closer at the manager’s role in bringing it all together for a smooth transition and a more successful team.

“When it comes to switching CAD applications, success depends on a lot more than installing software and training users,” says Chad Jackson in his eBook, Switching CAD, Sustaining Productivity. “There is a cultural aspect of making such a change that must be navigated.”

A manager can ease the team into the change by following a few careful steps.  If you’ve got the job of bringing in new or updated software to a team, Jackson offers these tips :

Know exactly why you’re doing this.

You did your research and identified the new CAD system that will be implemented. Now, identify the vision behind the change, and its organizational impact.

Having clear objectives that are referenced throughout the change process can help your team feel  less overwhelmed or stressed when their day-to-day work takes more time and effort as they learn the new tool.Why are we making this change? What will we get from it? Then, make sure you communicate how the technology will impact team members and set expectations for the change.

Pull together a collection of training resources.

This involves leveraging the right learning curriculum, as well as the right medium for training content. Classroom? Online? At scheduled times? Or at the team member’s convenience?

Look at all of the training resources that are available and establish a plan specific to your various users. Take another look at the second part of this series for more information about training options.

The idea behind this is to collect learning components into a library of training that individuals can draw on depending on their job. “This way, the most efficient set of training can be configured for different roles in the organization,” Jackson says.

Appoint mentors.

With the system implemented and the initial training completed, the team still needs ongoing support and resources.

Jackson suggests that you identify someone to champion the change and serve as a mentor for those with questions about the system. “[Find] someone who can assist the employee in understanding what capabilities of the technology should be used in his or her day-to-day work.”

At the same time, he cautions, “Best practices and lessons learned rarely come from a single person, even if they are a mentor or technical leader… it’s important to develop a group whose purpose is to collect these lessons and practices and then redistributes them back to the organization.”

Don’t assume the team remembers your every word.

Aside from facilitating the steps above, as a manager, you can focus on delivering clear communication that presents the goals, objectives, benefits, and status of the implementation.

“In all the phases of this kind of transition, communication is key,” says Jackson. “Even though employees heard about the vision and benefits of the technology change during the preparing phase, that doesn’t mean it will be front of mind when they run into challenges. It is important to reinforce those same points from the preparing phase on a frequent basis, especially early on, so employees continue to be willing to work through short-term difficulties knowing there will be long-term gains.”

[Find out more about eLearning options available with PTC subscription licensing. Get 40 hours PTC University eLearning free with any subscription package.]

In a nutshell, a manager can help ensure the transition to a new software goes smoothly by communicating the objective for the change (early and often) and establishing training and support resources.

Check out the PTC Training Services page to find out about the training options that are available for PTC Creo. And, register for free login credentials and visit the PTC University Learning Exchange to access thousands of free educational videos.