CAD Management: Seasonal Shifts

There are times of the year when people celebrate the changing seasons by taking the time to prep for the upcoming weather, bringing out the patio furniture and dusting off the grill in the summer, or winterizing the house as the cooler weather descends.

Summer vacations always make me look forward to what is coming next.  It might be a plane ride to some far-off location or a car vacation to visit relatives and see the scenery. Or it could be some simple time off to relax in the back yard and stay close to home with the family.

No matter what you end up doing, there is always some prep time needed to get ready for a weather change or to travel across the country.  Taking the time to prepare for the next event makes it that much more successful.  Getting things in order and ready to go, checking stops and transitional locations, verifying flights and cargo are all part of the setup leading to a move.

The same holds true when you get ready to upgrade a system or software or initiate a new project. This is a great time to do some of the prep work needed to make a successful transition or launch.  Here are some ideas to consider as Summer 2012 brings some valuable and new system upgrades to the market:

Clean off the Server.  There is so much clutter that collects on today’s servers.  With the relative cheap hard drive space available and IT folks continually adding on more capacity, we seldom go back to clean up our old data and archive things away.  Go back and archive old projects, outdated data, and archaic files and make room for the new.   Don’t just move it to the cloud either.  Get it offline.  You can always get it back.

To start, have your project team members tell you what data can be backed up and removed.  Bring them a list of what is on the server.  Many times, they are surprised that the stuff is still there.   Once they give you a list – copy it off to CD or DVD and take it off the server.  Make duplicates of the media and give a copy to the Project Manager.

Clean off the Desktop.  Local files get cluttered too. Installed programs that you never use and data that you gathered for a prior effort will bog down your machine. The same goes for old folders on your desktop that you have not touched in years or unused icons on your screen. If your IT staff has locked down the desktop machines, ask them to come and clean house.  They may know better than the user what needs to stay and what needs to go.

Check for spyware, malware and viruses. This is especially valuable after you update your tools that keep these things in check. Run a defrag tool if you like those kinds of things.  Delete old download files that you may have grabbed off the Internet.   Consider running a CHKDSK or some other hard drive diagnostics tool.

Upgrade your software.  Get the latest release of patches on the software you use.  CAD and other programs should be upgraded when there is a break in the flow of work.  Once you have the software installed and tested, roll it out to others.  If there is a team that has just finished a project, offer to include them first.

Get some training.  Online courses, reading, off site events, webinars, etc. are great ways to get some refresher training or simply learn a new feature training that you may not have had time to visit before.  When there is a gap in your workflow – sharpen your tools.

There are times when a gap in workflow allows you some breathing room.  Take a few relaxing breaths (or days – it is, after all, vacation time), but don’t miss out on the opportunity to sweep away the old and roll-out the new.  Kick the cobwebs off the old data and get it out of the way.

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