Have you ever found out things related to your area of oversight that others know about before you? I have. And I always wonder… why was I the last to hear about this?
Many times the CAD Manager is the last person to hear about problems. They may think things are running smoothly and that everything is going fine only to find out differently. Just when they think that things are humming along, someone tells them the rest of the story… the parts that they are missing. The things that they are not hearing about. The problems that others have known for a while.
Then there are fixes and solutions and workarounds that staffers are doing that you may not realize they are. They are getting things done and moving past the troubles (without telling you) and devising their own solutions.
Most of us have been burned by these kinds of things. And my solutions usually include asking a lot of questions. It is hard to know what you do not know, but there are some ways of heading off this situation.
When you are not hearing about problems…
Ask a person what others are saying. Many may not be mentioning things because they do not want to “blow the whistle”. You may get around this road block by asking them what the buzz is? What are others saying about such and such? That gives them permission to squeal but they can hide behind “others” as being the ones talking about the troubles.
Ask the other managers. They may hear of complaints from staff that you might not hear. Employees may be going up their ladder and using tech excuses as reasons for not hitting deadlines. These reasons may not have any validity (or they might) but it allows them to tell you the problem areas.
When you are not hearing about solutions…
Also there are times when they are not telling you about the solutions. Users have troubles and they are good at figuring out workarounds. Entire blogs and series of articles are devoted to workarounds. Careers have been launched and fed by knowing how to make things work that are not working as planned.
Ask several people about their tips and tricks. Just ask people if they have any cool ideas about making the software do the dance. Most people will have some. Some will have many. Some will share, others will not. Keep asking. Watch what they do. I have discovered several tips just by watching a hot shot do their work. Stopping them to ask – what did you just do?
Keep your ears open for when complaints stop. Most times solutions will happen and then the problems will subside. When calmer waters appear, then ask around… what was the fix?
Managers are not the single source for all solutions and often never even hear about the problems. By checking in with folks, you can keep your ear to the tracks and hear about the troubles and their solutions even when you may not have been involved.