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Cad Managers?

Anonymous
Newcomer
I am currently faced with the issue of determining what a basic user should know about ArchiCAD, and would like to divide the staff into categories that will allow basic, standard and high end users so that each project has a competent cad person in a team.
Therafter the idea is to break the trainining issues into one hour segments so that the company continues to run, while progress happens.

Any Ideas or suggestions?
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Solution
Anonymous
Newcomer
Thanks Tom,
My thoughts on beginners are that they are fresh out of uni and new to ArchiCAD and the company etc. and the ongoing training is what will get them to the next levels,
Our co. grew from about 20 staff two years ago to 70 now, so there is a need to divide them so that we can create modules of training for them as per their needs

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11 REPLIES 11

TomWaltz
Newcomer
Why would someone be a "basic" user? Are they new to the company? Are they fresh graduates? Are they tech-school grads who have little hope of promotion? What do you see as a method or reason for promotion from one level to the next?

I thought I remembered reading something on this a while back (from a general management standpoint), why they recommended against dividing people into categories, but cannot find the article.

Anyway, one of my favorite management sites is the Harvard Business School management library (where I though I had read it):
http://hbswk.hbs.edu/
Tom Waltz

Solution
Anonymous
Newcomer
Thanks Tom,
My thoughts on beginners are that they are fresh out of uni and new to ArchiCAD and the company etc. and the ongoing training is what will get them to the next levels,
Our co. grew from about 20 staff two years ago to 70 now, so there is a need to divide them so that we can create modules of training for them as per their needs

View solution in original post

TomWaltz
Newcomer
I still think it can be done without dividing people. (I also feel that Archicad is not "that kind of program" that can easily be divided into "beginner", "intermediate" and "advanced" within a design & production environment.)

If the one-hour classes are modular (like, say, Solid Element Operations or Creating Viewsets), the topics could be something that a brand new user needs, but could also be something that someone with a few more years of architectural experience and spotty Archicad experience could still use.

I say this because I do the same thing: For a 50-person company, I teach a weekly 1-hour class and everyone from power users to new users to barely-CAD-literate project managers attend. It's been going for quite some time now (2 1/2 years), and almost never seems to run out of steam. People keep coming up with new topics, which are not always 100% CAD-related (like my current one on Work vs Progress

Average attendence is about 15 to 20 (there are 25 CAD users total), depending on some people being out at job sites, sick, on vacation, etc. Attendence is not compulsory, but both user ability level and amount of improvement are considerations for the staff at annual reviews. If someone is underperforming, their raise suffers. The easy way to fix that is to be in class.

Sometimes the rookies can benefit from seeing the power users in attendence (which says "Training is important for everyone"). It also means that the power users can contribute ideas and situations that the trainer may not think of, and the power users get reinforcement in areas they may not use often.

In my experience, dividing people makes them feel isolated or undervalued. Putting them into one large group and encouraging questions and participation made them feel like members of one big team that helps its own.
Tom Waltz

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
People should be divided more by their role in the firm than levels of expertise. The Directors/Principles, Project Architects/Managers, and Production/Modelers all have different needs and their training should be targeted accordingly. Within each group the "Little Red Schoolhouse" model seems best where everybody is involved in elevating all skill levels, with more advanced users helping others.

There is of course a need for basic training for new hires (who don't know ArchiCAD), and for company standards. The basic training seems to best delivered by a good reseller (if one is available) they have the equipment and are doing it all the time. Company standards is an evolving thing that is best conveyed through regular staff meetings (we are doing them bi-weekly at one of my client's offices).

The ArchiCAD for Managers program is one we are developing in coordination with the local reseller and focuses less on ArchiCAD proficiency and more on the virtual building process and what they can expect/demand of production staff (and how much lead time is needed for a presentation, review set, or submission package.

This whole process is evolving as we all figure out how to make the most of the tools and incorporate new features and practices with each release of ArchiCAD. To this end it is essential that all concerned keep open lines of communication so that everyone has a reasonable idea of what is expected and what is possible.
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

andyro
Contributor
Our office HR person proposed a similar model. Nobody was told, 'You are a power user, and You are a beginner' - we know this already from working together.

The model was more informal and maybe sneaky? The idea was to rearrange workstations so the power users are surrounded by less experienced CAD users. The natural effect of this is that 'Those who know, help those who do not'. It is inevitable in any practice for this to happen. Proximity is key - and this is our training model.

BTW - this approach has begun to happen naturally as a result of project teams getting rearranged on the studio floor, and in each project team, there is a whiz-bang modeler/workflow person.

I would love to organize new training sessions like Tom's, but can scarcely imagine where I would find the time to prepare for them. Tom, do you offer lunch? Beer? Does your firm pay you to develop the curriculum? Do they require you to create a printed copy in a binder for each session 'module'? Does your staff submit suggestions for topics?

I have found, that when I have organised these types of sessions, precisely those persons most needing to be in attendance were not, and who subsequently task me the most with the same sets of questions. Even when attendance was mandatory. It is also incredibly hard to nail down the partners, who could definitely stand to learn a few tricks.
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

Matthew Lohden
Newcomer
I am in a nearly ideal situation. I am working with two firms with very strong top level management support and eager staff (the former having a lot to do with the latter). At one firm we are doing a one hour session every other week on a narrow topic (today was pen settings) with documentation followed by Q&A. At the other we are getting ready to start a similar arrangement next week only they're springing for lunch.

In both cases we are working aggressively to document the standards as they develop, and the implementation is top to bottom. I even have one principle who is modeling schematics in ArchiCAD.

We are also creating situations similar to what Andy describes where everyone shares what they know and status arises from how much one contributes to the common pool of knowledge. We are involving everyone in the creation of the CAD standards and each contributing to writing parts of the manual(s).

I am looking (madly) for good collaborative document creation/management tools so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I will also keep you guys posted on anything I find. Right now we are using a polyglot of AC/PM (my old standard as many of you know) along with InDesign, Pages, etc. What I really want is some kind of PDF metadata browser so we can set up templates in any programs we want and consolidate the results easily in such a way that they are readily accessible to all.
Matthew Lohden
Consultant, SF CA

MacPro 8core 32GB Radeon 5870
OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion, XP32, Win 7x64

TomWaltz
Newcomer
andyro wrote:
I would love to organize new training sessions like Tom's, but can scarcely imagine where I would find the time to prepare for them. Tom, do you offer lunch? Beer? Does your firm pay you to develop the curriculum? Do they require you to create a printed copy in a binder for each session 'module'? Does your staff submit suggestions for topics?
We get pizzas & soda, usually for about 15 people. I used to complain that more did not come, but the ones who do not are the "open CAD once a week to print"-type people who would not get much anyway.

I write all my classes in Keynote and print a 2-slides to a page, double-sides handout. All the handouts are on our network as PDFs (right next to our Graphic & Production Standards manuals). At the end of the year I archive them into on master PDF for easier searchability.

Keep in mind that CAD Management and Training (along with GDL programming and a few other administrative functions) is my sole function for K&A. I have time to write a solid class, figure out who is applying what they have learned, and follow up with them if they are having problems. I think most CAD Managers would kill for that kind of luxury.

My time is paid for both creating the course and teaching it. The company policy is that if they provide lunch, then attendence is not paid for the staff. I emphasize that people are not required to come, but they are expected to know the material as part of their annual reviews and on-going employment. They are welcome to pick up a handout and read it on their own time. I really don't care how they learn Archicad as long as it's not costing the company unnecessary time. Most people come to the classes more for my off-handed, un-planned comments and the general discussions that come up that are usually the golden nuggets of the class.

I would say 75% of the topics are staff-requested. Others are things that I notice people are not as strong on as I would like or if something major happens, like Archicad 10 being released.

I usually have 1 partner (out of 5) and 1 or 2 associates (out of 6), so at least some management is represented.
Tom Waltz

andyro
Contributor
The open letter thing is good (http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=306874&pageID=1 ), I'd like to edit it down a bit (a lot) for our partners, who have like 10 seconds to read stuff like this. And have all of us BIM-managers endorse it!

We are really all in the same boat, and this stuff can't get left to chance without spending waaay to much time fixing things later, and blaming it on ArchiCad because it doesn't perform as expected. It would also be great to push GSUS to develop a complrehensive set of templates and new workflow guides to alleviate the burden on all of us a little, and help those that aren't where they should be/could be, get up to speed.

You in?
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

TomWaltz
Newcomer
The workflow guides would be extemely useful if they include all options for achieving a certain result and descriptions of which methods work best in different situations. It seems like there are too many "one-size-fits-all" answers out there that only explain "what" without going into the "why." That's why i always liked "Project Framework" so much: it goes into enough of the "why" that you can make some intelligent choices, even if it does not cover every topic and situation.

I'm not sure about you guys, but in coming from an existing CAD platform one of the problems I ran into was that management expected a new set of title blocks, symbols, fonts, etc. to match what they were used to, no excuses. It can be done, but it's something that was pretty unique to exactly the way CAD and graphic standards developed in this company and often requires a specific number / division of pens, a certain layer usage, and some custom object/GDL work.

The reason I mention this is that I'm not sure there is such a thing as a single template that is good for everyone. It would need to be an array of templates each with an accompanying Usage Guide.
Tom Waltz

andyro
Contributor
I think if we looked at your best set of CDs, and ours, we'd find a lot of similarities. Our partners are likewise extremely particular.
Everything must be just so, and that is not always possible with out of the box parts, etc.

We should compare notes sometime, on topics such as window and other schedules, details workflow, optimized DWG translator settings (when to publish from LBKs and when from ArchiCad), etc. You know, the whole list of stuff that nobody really knows how to do, or at least not quickly and easily.

Even ID management is something even a newbie should know, so there is no need to sort and filter parts later to run a schedule, etc, etc. I don't know how many times I've had to turn 'enable multi-platform format' on and 'auto ID increase' off....
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

andyro
Contributor
Right. A 'How To' guide for creating this fairly specific office template you mention, from attributes to a bit of custom GDL. It is a fairly specific thing in almost every firm I have worked in, and in my experience, it has been painfully slow to develop in most cases, and often remains incomplete.

Sounds like a topic for an upcoming ArchiCad University?
Andy Thomson
Andy Thomson | Architect
Research site
Company site

AC24 / Twinmotion / iMacPro

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