Upgrade or Re-write and Tech Manager Overload

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

I have been working with an old MDL application that needs to be upgraded from MicroStation version 8.5 to the latest release. Ideally, I might want to re-write this app using the latest development tools so I can take advantage of the latest IDE, more easily integrate with supporting systems, and better support future maintenance efforts. As a technology manager however, there are other things to consider like training, testing, and deployment. If I keep the application within the MDL framework I eliminate end user re-training. This means the users are up and running as soon as you deliver the updated application. Testing and deployment issues on the other hand will still exist. But, if I just update the MDL I can keep the deployment the same and focus the testing on only the features that have been changed or fixed. I might also add some regression testing to check for the unexpected.  The result though, is less time spent and users are up and running sooner than later.

So, when would I re-write? If I have a choice and the technology doesn’t force the re-write then it would happen after I have satisfied the basic end user workflow with an upgrade. This assumes of course that I have the bandwidth on my team to support the re-write effort. Which leads me to another issue – tech manager overload.

Many of us work on our own, we don’t have a team. We develop, train, support, and configure. And, often we’re expected to design too! There’s no time during the work week to do the things that will make you a better technology manager, or make your CAD system perform better. To that I say, then you need help. And typically I get back, yes, but I’m not going to get it.

Really? Some of you will never be convinced, but for those who might I have a recommendation. Document all of the things you do on a day-to-day basis, and even those things you do weekly, monthly, or only a few times per year. Put time estimates to each of these tasks and account for where your time is spent during the week. You will see immediately if you have too much work to do. You will likely identify things you do that should be done by someone else, and things that simply aren’t important. Share this with your boss.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the boss of a tech manager say they had no idea that he/she was doing that much work. But, I work hard, everyone says so. Sure, but they think they work hard too, and frankly they don’t really care until they don’t get what they want. That sounds harsh, but it’s human nature. The reality is that they don’t know how much you have to do for them. This includes your boss.

There are a number of reasons workload increases. One of the main causes is that we agree to take on tasks and responsibilities that add to that daily workload without any oversight or governance. We never ask if the new feature, process, or technology being requested adding value to our business or is it just a nice to have? And, we don’t look at how the new technology will impact our workload. We never, or rarely say no. We just do it, because for some reason we just assume we’re suppose to, it makes us feel good to help, be the hero, or worse, we assume someone else is keeping track of how much work we’re doing. I can assure you, if you aren’t telling anyone, no one knows.

It’s up to you to keep track and apply some system oversight. You’re the technology manager – ask why implementing the users request is important and have a good understanding of how it will impact your workload. Don’t just do it. Have a plan to support and maintain the request even if it seems small. And, share with your boss. Some bosses are just bad bosses – get a new job. But, most are reasonable and will get you the resources you need to effectively support your end users. They can only do that if they have visibility into your workload. Show them how much you are expected to do and you will get help.


About Mark Stefanchuk:
 Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

Most Downloaded!

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Thanks everyone for helping PhotogeoDWG make the most downloaded list in the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.

mostdownloaded

 

 

Did Google Miss an Opportunity?

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

pwnium

I think this is interesting – Google has announced its next Pwnium hacking contest and they are offering $3.14159 million in prize money. I read this first on The Register. It’s awesome, right? Nerdy prize money for a nerdy contest. But get this, the contest date is set for March 7th. Huh? Why not March 14th? I guess this only makes sense in the U.S. and Canada where we start our dates with the month first (elsewhere they start with the day first), but still, 3.14. How could you resist? If I were the marketing lead I think I would have had to insist on March 14. Maybe there’s still time to reschedule. Know anyone at Google? Let them know that they should change the date. (Thanks to my friend Patrick who recently pointed out that March 14th should be national pie day.)

Change the Install Folder

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Yes, it is possible to change the product folder for PhotogeoDWG. You have to do this after you run the Exchange Apps Store msi package, but it’s really easy.

Install PhotogeoDWG

As you can see there isn’t a way to change the install folder before you click “Install Now”. But, you can change the location after install. If you are using PhotogeoDWG with AutoCAD2013 the plugin will autoload if it resides in the Roaming\Autodesk folder, the Program Files\Autodesk folder, or the ProgramData\Autodesk folder. The msi package will install the to the Roaming\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle folder. But, if you want all users to be able to have access to this plugin without having to install it a bunch of times, then just move the Roaming\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle to Program Files\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\CMRI_Photogeo.bundle. That’s all you have to do. AutoCAD will take care of the rest.

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

PhotogeoDWG on Windows XP

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

I just finished up some testing running PhotogeoDWG in AutoCAD 2013 on Windows XP (SP3) and the results are good. The Autodesk Exchange Apps Store installer copies the Photogeo bundle into %appdata%, as it does in Windows 7. But in XP, the AppData location is in the Documents and Settings Application Data folder of the current user, and not in the user’s roaming folder.

AppData folder on XP

Autoloader worked great in AutoCAD 2013 and I was able to run all PhotogeoDWG features as expected. So, if you’re holding off on running tools available via Exchange apps because your expecting conflicts with Windows, there’s actually no need to wait.

PhotogeoDWG on XP

About Mark Stefanchuk: Mark is a VP and senior consultant with CAD Management Resources, Inc. He divides his time between developing innovative custom software solutions and helping clients navigate complex design automation environments. If you would like to find out how he can assist you with your design technology he can be reached by contacting us at info@cadmanage.com.

PhotoGeoDWG on Exchange Apps!

by Mark Stefanchuk, CADmanage.com

Photogeo Logo

Just a quick note to announce that PhotoGeoDWG is now available on the Autodesk Exchange Apps Store. Leave a comment, tell us how to make it better. PhotoGeo will run in AutoCAD 2012/2013 and Civil3D 2012/2013. And, did I mention it’s free? Our CADmanage.com help page has a link to the PhotoGeoDWGhelp.pdf (right click on the link to download the file).

Happy New Year!

by Seth Cohen, CADmanage.com

To all of our colleagues in the CAD industry, we extend wishes for happy holidays and a Happy New Year.