Author Topic: Lessons learned.  (Read 37946 times)

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jpostlewait

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Lessons learned.
« on: October 13, 2006, 09:44:19 PM »
How to move to Civil 3D and why.

First and foremost you CAN NOT do it by yourself.
It's just too big a pile to make sense of without some guidance.

There is a small but growing cadre of people that can help you.

Some resellers have on staff people that get it.
Unfortunately they are in the minority.

If you are the Lead person on getting this implemented I can give you some advice.
1.) Find who you want to help you.
     Start with your reseller.
     After all it is his job to support you.

     If that doesn't work try nationally.
     You can bring in people that are very valuable.
      If your firm can't afford to bring in someone in the 1500 to 2000 buck a day range, look to partner with other firms or try to get your reseller to arrange it.

2) Learn how to play nationally.
      Many Blogs, The autodesk discussion groups, The Civil Engineering community site.

3.) And for God's sake unless you are a solo shop or the CEO you HAVE to be adept politically. You will face many obstacles.
They will not be overcome without help from above.

Some resources that I recommend.


http://civil3d.com/
http://civilcommunity.autodesk.com/

The help menu in Civil 3D is absolutely the best help menu Acad has ever had.

I'm telling you guys, after all the trials and tribulations of my implementation team, They to a person, that's in deference to Megan, recommended that we proceed.

I know it's not there yet, at least in my book.
But it's getting close.
Close enough you can run with it warts and all.

Our implementation has only just started.

One of the lesson's I  have learned is Autodesk is interested in you succeeding.

Oh and VAULT SUCKS.
But that is also being addressed.

More later.

John Postlewait
IS Department
George Butler Associates, Inc.

Dinosaur

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2006, 10:22:03 PM »
Congratulations John, I know it has been a long and a VERY strange road that has finally brought you to this point.  I have whined and moaned at length here about my own adventures, but I have faced nothing like the financial and political challenges you have struggled with along with the same technical challenges only at a much larger scale.  I would advise you to take a much deserved break now, but I have a feeling the bell is about to ring for your next round any minute.
I will share your stage just for a second to let you know that this last week had some importance for my personal adventures with Civil 3D as well.  I have finally turned around my own little company culture and am pleased to announce that we are now essentially a 2007 Civil 3D shop.  The program is installed and projects are being converted.  LDT 2k5 is being kept around only for staking support for jobs being built.  I still don't know exactly what turned things around but MAN, what a week!

jpostlewait

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2006, 11:03:01 PM »
There are a lot more stories to come.
I am glad that you have taken the plunge.
It's pretty cool stuff.

jpostlewait

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2006, 01:19:13 PM »
A friend of mine mentioned that I had started to talk about the How and had not mentioned the Why?

So let me switch gears and begin to discuss why.The most obvious answer is that is the direction that Autodesk is going and if you don't go with it you will eventually have to go with another package to stay current. That may very well be the option that best fits some users.

More importantly, if Autodesk redirects their development channel to this software, They must have seen something compelling. An organization that big and that successful does not turn on a dime. There has to be a substantial reason for changing course.

What they saw was a process that enabled the designers to focus on the model of the project and not spending the majority of their time on drawing lines and circles on page 6 of the plan set.

The Plan set will still be with us for the foreseeable future. I'm betting not in my lifetime will my firm submit a model to a reviewing agency for approval.

We have already submitted models to contractors for construction.
We have submitted models to clients for Facilities management.
But the printed document will still be there for awhile.

[ note to self, try to stay focused. ]

The goal of Civil 3D is to allow the designer more time to refine his design without having to spend hours and hours reviewing drafted sheets. No more back charges for typo's. Change the size of your structure in your model and you don't need to change notes on three different sheets and update the quantity sheet.
The key of course is "You can't B.S. the model." You must keep it accurate for all to work.

jpostlewait

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2006, 04:55:41 PM »
Back to what I really know, the How part.

Assuming after reading the first couple of rants you are still interested Some more suggestions.

If you haven't started yet but want to a couple tips.
Focus on selecting who will help, and try to upgrade the heck out of your hardware.
Sign up for AU and select all the C3D courses you can handle.
Order the course materials from Autodesk and WORK your way through them.
Don't bother with AU unless you take the tip on the course materials.
You won't know what they are talking about.

If you are past this stage some more hints.
Mark Scacco a couple of weeks ago was on the Friday webcast with his Cad Manager's Primer presentation. Watch it, download the material and start working your way through it. ALL that stuff happens, and more.
If you don't watch the Friday webcasts A.) you should and B.) they are archived for your viewing at your convenience.

Let me jump back to the how to find help topic.
I recommended earlier that you start with your reseller.
I stand by that but let me tell you a dirty little secret. Autodesk has done an inept job of providing support for the reseller chain in implementing this product. With some notable exceptions, don't want to step on any toes here guys, most of the reseller support guys don't know how to really implement this product in your environment. The ones that do are a rare and valuable resource.
Those of you that know who I selected I would recommend him in a heartbeat.
Those that don't I will reply to P.M.'s concerning this recommendation. I just didn't see this as a flag waving event for my implementer. I'm trying to give some expensive hard earned advice.

I'm thinking the next topic I tackle is how to pick the pilot project team.

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2006, 06:47:21 PM »
One of the roadblocks I ran into trying to get my boss to approve some training was theamount of down time it would require.  We had no one left to cover the staff while in training.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not convince him he could afford 3 days with zero office production no matter how much it would later improve efficiency.  He DID have a point whenhe mentioned the work schedule itself not being able to absorb the loss.  How did getting your training affect every day operations while your staff was being trained?

jpostlewait

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2006, 07:18:11 PM »
As I predicted, How to pick a Pilot Project team.

The leader of the design team has GOT to be a true believer.
He [ can we agree on a generic use of "he" without offending.] must have had some level of previous training. Hopefully more than just a 3-Day essentials class.
Somebody has to help the implementer in the creation of styles and help with workflow issues. In other words somebody has to be the translator for the implementer to explain where you are so He can try to figure out how to get you where he wants you to go.

So who is your shooter? He has a great impact on this whole process. He has to walk a delicate tightrope between who your company was, and who they will be when this is all overwith. He has to be able to explain to management why so and so is b*tching about everything. Has to be able to explain how come the budget is gone and we still have a week of work to do. Has to be able to develop the internal standards and make them stick. Oh and don't forget has to be able to lead the design process also.

And attitude is critical. Got to roll with the punches, has to deal with criticism, needs exceptional computer skills and has to be able to learn how C3d thinks.

Now you got one.

Who else?
My guess is that the people that regularly work with him will supply a couple of people. If you got the superman I just described the people who work under him probably have picked up some of those traits.

A couple of relative newcomers might be advisable. Not hung up on your companies bad habits. Used to learning. Open to other ideas or came from different environments so they already know that different ways exist. Cause this is another one.

You also need to find those that possess "Good Stubborn"
The stubbornness of dogged determination not the stubbornness of "we ain't never done it that way."

When you have them picked out, do whatever you can to support them. Hardware is a must. Dual monitors, high quality processors and RAM and more Ram. Had to bump 4 machines to 4G of ram to get the project out. The memory leak is being addressed. Don't overlook bringing cookies or having celebrations.

If you work for an organization of size, it really shouldn't be hard to select this group.
If you work in a small shop you dance with who you brung.
The really hard part is picking out the next bunch.
Or who don't you train.
Those are the hard ones.

sinc

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2006, 08:18:22 PM »

When you have them picked out, do whatever you can to support them. Hardware is a must. Dual monitors, high quality processors and RAM and more Ram. Had to bump 4 machines to 4G of ram to get the project out.


Gotta love the way Autodesk understates the hardware requirements...  :lmao:

Of course, I could just see it now in hundreds of companies across the country: "What do you mean we need to get everyone another monitor in order to run Civil-3D?  And 4GB of RAM in every machine?  Tell me again, how much is that Bentley stuff?"
:angel:

jpostlewait

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2006, 08:36:46 PM »

When you have them picked out, do whatever you can to support them. Hardware is a must. Dual monitors, high quality processors and RAM and more Ram. Had to bump 4 machines to 4G of ram to get the project out.


Gotta love the way Autodesk understates the hardware requirements...  :lmao:

Of course, I could just see it now in hundreds of companies across the country: "What do you mean we need to get everyone another monitor in order to run Civil-3D?  And 4GB of RAM in every machine?  Tell me again, how much is that Bentley stuff?"
:angel:

Check again how much that Bentley stuff is.
Ram's cheap, Bentley's not.
Another topic which I can discuss but maybe later.
They are working on the memory leaks.
Should be fixed shortly.
Dual monitors are a cost effective method of increasing productivity.
That argument flies in every board room in the country.
19 inch flat panels are getting around 200 bucks.

dbreigprobert

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2006, 09:52:33 PM »
I am about 3X as productive (at least) since getting my second monitor.  I cannot believe I waited this long.  It is especially key when doing things like:

Stormwater Calcs when I have hydrocad or excell open I can see both windows

Documenting tasks for training material- I can have my running word doc, snagit and c3d and do minimal juggling

Writing email, reports and other stuff in the second monitor while the first one holds a processing corridor or something else.

Truly truly the best (small) money I ever spent.

:angel:

Check again how much that Bentley stuff is.
Ram's cheap, Bentley's not.
Another topic which I can discuss but maybe later.
They are working on the memory leaks.
Should be fixed shortly.
Dual monitors are a cost effective method of increasing productivity.
That argument flies in every board room in the country.
19 inch flat panels are getting around 200 bucks.

<edit>  fixed quote tags  Mav
« Last Edit: October 17, 2006, 10:32:28 AM by Maverick« »

Dinosaur

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2006, 10:11:02 PM »
I think a second monitor is perhaps more necessary with Microstation than with Civil 3D . . . I also think even though it is possible to be productive no one should be subjected to such abuse.  I have my editor maximized on my secondary 17" lcd with the toolspace and properties fly outs permanently open on the twin primary 17" along with all of the other fun fly outs set to autohide, a small text screen and the little viewport toolbar that I couldn't fit with the rest of those with the editor.  Both are full and I could really use more room.  I can run it at home with just a single 17" but it really complicates the workflow without at least toolspace and properties always visible.

dbreigprobert

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2006, 10:20:32 PM »
i wasn't even thinking.  YES

I couldnt model a corridor with my second monitor.  To see what is going on under the corridor prop box is murder without Susie LCD 19" #2

:)


I think a second monitor is perhaps more necessary with Microstation than with Civil 3D . . . I also think even though it is possible to be productive no one should be subjected to such abuse.  I have my editor maximized on my secondary 17" lcd with the toolspace and properties fly outs permanently open on the twin primary 17" along with all of the other fun fly outs set to autohide, a small text screen and the little viewport toolbar that I couldn't fit with the rest of those with the editor.  Both are full and I could really use more room.  I can run it at home with just a single 17" but it really complicates the workflow without at least toolspace and properties always visible.

sinc

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2006, 12:00:05 PM »
I am about 3X as productive (at least) since getting my second monitor.

Now I KNOW that's a wild exaggeration, even in Civil-3D...  If only it were that easy to get a 3x productivity increase...   :-D

But I admit, two monitors are nice, and make that program in particular much easier to use.  I actually already informed the boss that we'll be wanting to get all our CAD workstations up to two monitors once we start the transition to Civil-3D.  I have two at home, and already feel the pain when I'm at work with my paltry single 20" LCD...   :lol:

Dinosaur

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2006, 12:14:33 PM »
The key with one monitor is you have to sacrifice real estate in you editor window and put at least the toolspace and properties flyouts minimized outside of the editor.  This crimps the toolbars I like to have on a 17" monitor so I also lose a few buttons but a 19 or 20" wouldn't have this problem.  There is still a bit of interruption in the workflow opening the flyouts but at least I don't have to go fishing for those two important dialogs.

dbreigprobert

  • Guest
Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2006, 01:03:50 PM »
I guess it depends on your tasks.

A significant portion of my work is blogging, document writing and other work where I am screen capturing Civil 3D and writing in word at the same time.

I am at least 3X more productive at those tasks with my second monitor.

Add a dual core into the mix and I can screen capture, blog, and process a corridor at the same time.  Previously, I would process a corridor and go take a nap.

Dana
I am about 3X as productive (at least) since getting my second monitor.

Now I KNOW that's a wild exaggeration, even in Civil-3D...  If only it were that easy to get a 3x productivity increase...   :-D

But I admit, two monitors are nice, and make that program in particular much easier to use.  I actually already informed the boss that we'll be wanting to get all our CAD workstations up to two monitors once we start the transition to Civil-3D.  I have two at home, and already feel the pain when I'm at work with my paltry single 20" LCD...   :lol: