Author Topic: Lessons learned.  (Read 40844 times)

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mjfarrell

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2006, 11:37:36 AM »
Sinc,

I haven't kept pace with the SITELINES presentations, interesting to note that only one engineer is attempting to convert to Civil 3d.  If that is true, it would explain why little appears to be getting done on the project.  I like a total team/office training approach for many reasons. In this scenario, everyone learns the interface, and the tool functionality together. Then a user or two can concentrate on how to design with it, while others can use the designed data and apply various style settings to the design.

Can an office complete a pilot project on time and under budget; I say yes!

Do I see a lot of it happening, no not really.  The culprit is the interface, and the omission of functions that can lead to a truly miserable experience. 


Be your Best


Michael Farrell
http://primeservicesglobal.com/

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2006, 11:47:54 AM »
The key advantage I see with Michael's approach is that with everyone participating, the key questions are more likely to be asked.  A potential user who will concentrate on survey or surface modeling tasks may not know or think to ask questions about sewer design.  Ideally, the designers should learn all aspects of designing with Civil 3D, but in reality there are specialists and they will ask about that first.  When the discussion time is limited, those may be all there is time for.

mjfarrell

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2006, 02:32:18 PM »
The benefits of having everyone present extend in both directions at the same time.
From the surveyor to the project manager, each brings their unique talents, experiences, and
focus to the class.  As each relates their perspective and challenges the exchange of ideas about how, when, and why to apply the tools is dynamic. Managers get a better idea of what is possible, and the data, and process needed to achieve what is possible. Surveyors benefit from hearing about what is or isn't good data collection practices
The 'trickle down' theory of application training has yet to yield the highest return for ones training investment. Often we find users that display a high aptitude for various functions; and these become the new guard, the front line in adopting the software. Even the sharpest of you out there can't say that you can go to a 2-3 day session to learn all the new software and application concepts, and then pass on this new knowledge 100% complete upon returning to your office. Or should I call you Mr. Spock?

Also, I find that the least knowledgeable member of your team is the best place to start the learning process.  They have the least to lose from asking a question that might go unanswered, the discussion of their questions often leads to a deeper understanding, of both the company process (standards), and the functioning of the software tool.
Be your Best


Michael Farrell
http://primeservicesglobal.com/

jpostlewait

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2006, 07:52:05 PM »
>> The 'trickle down' theory of application training has yet to yield the highest return for ones training investment. Often we find users that display a high aptitude for various functions; and these become the new guard, the front line in adopting the software. Even the sharpest of you out there can't say that you can go to a 2-3 day session to learn all the new software and application concepts, and then pass on this new knowledge 100% complete upon returning to your office. Or should I call you Mr. Spock?<<

Well I sure a h*ll know I'm not Spock.
I agree completely this is not how to implement the product.
Have patience I will disagree with you later.

>>Also, I find that the least knowledgeable member of your team is the best place to start the learning process. <<
Well maybe sooner than later.
I have seen the process of change be easier for those with less baggage.
But those with the most baggage are the ones with the most design, production, and output Knowledge.
They are the key.
You are correct to a certain extent that it is easier to learn if you don't have to unlearn first.
But the Dino's of the office, with a deep knowledge of the approval process and innumerable other things are the guys you really have to get to.
Somehow you got to convince Dino that he has to change and he has to take the risk of change in order to move forward.
And I apologize Dino for using you personally as an example but I hope you know that it's not personal.
Crap dude I'm as old as you are, I know what kind of impact this kind of change makes.

As for the Sitelines series.
Where in the f do you find a client that will wait 4 months for you to design a 13 lot cul-de-sac.
With all of the support in the world from both the reseller and Autodesk.
And after it's all over they have 1 user sorta trained.
Sh*t I wish my life was that simple.

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2006, 09:44:53 PM »
. . . Well maybe sooner than later.
I have seen the process of change be easier for those with less baggage.
But those with the most baggage are the ones with the most design, production, and output Knowledge.
You are correct to a certain extent that it is easier to learn if you don't have to unlearn first.
But the Dino's of the office, with a deep knowledge of the approval process and innumerable other things are the guys you really have to get to.
Somehow you got to convince Dino that he has to change and he has to take the risk of change in order to move forward.
You gotta stay true to your school so I'm sticking with Michael's postion.  You are right that you have to get the key people on board, but sometimes when the rules change the key people may exchange roles.  Someone waiting in the wings for a team leader to move on may get a better grip on this new game in three days than team leader ever will.

. . . Crap dude I'm as old as you are  :-o , I know what kind of impact this kind of change makes.
Well THAT I might have to take personal.  :evil:  There are not very many of us geezers making much noise (other than razzberries anyway) about Civil 3D and that is part of what I find remarkable about the story you are sharing.  You could easily have decided to sit back and let some young Turk with an eye toward your position some number of years from now fight this battle and give HIM the grief when billing time came.

You mentioned in an earlier post how political the introduction of Civil 3D has been.  I have seen this also both at my little shop and the larger company who hosted the training I hitched the ride with.  Old tried and true methodology they had mastered years back is being threatened with the same fate the drawing boards and monster calculators (remember the old Friden and Olivetti units?  How about the Varitype? . . . wow, spellcheck didn't even know that one!) met when DCA appeared.  This stuff is different, has the potential to leave them drooling on the sidelines and they are scared.  It is not just the geezers either - my nemeses is half my age.  These politics are a greater hurdle than training a good staff and the clients with their associated budgets are their allies and don't get me started on the wrench a reviewing agency can throw at you.

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2006, 10:20:53 PM »
. . . Don't forget to check 3D rocks for my Chili recipe.

We have a special place in TheSwamp for sharing favorite recipes.  Why don't you post it HERE for some of the swampers who don't venture out into the Civil 3D blogs?  :-)

sinc

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2006, 11:02:26 AM »
As for the Sitelines series.
Where in the f do you find a client that will wait 4 months for you to design a 13 lot cul-de-sac.
With all of the support in the world from both the reseller and Autodesk.
And after it's all over they have 1 user sorta trained.
Sh*t I wish my life was that simple.



The countdown is ticking for us...  Official Civil-3D training starts next month.  I'm hoping that we've waited long enough, and the software's improved enough, that it should be a less-traumatic experience than the one you had (are having)...

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2006, 11:11:07 AM »
. . . The countdown is ticking for us...  Official Civil-3D training starts next month.  I'm hoping that we've waited long enough, and the software's improved enough, that it should be a less-traumatic experience than the one you had (are having)...
TAKE NOTES . . . bunches of them.  They will be more useful than the hands on exercises.

mjfarrell

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2006, 11:41:47 AM »
I don't know; the hands-on is totally vital.

Just last night C3D taught me an interesting lesson
about Median modeling that no amount of reading the help file would
have ever clued me in on. If it hadn't beat me down for about 4 hours,
before I clued-in on how to solve the problem, it was mine not the
application, I would never learnt THAT lesson.  Now I if I could only
fit it all into a neat package to share. 

Be your Best


Michael Farrell
http://primeservicesglobal.com/

jpostlewait

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2006, 01:55:25 PM »
8-)



The countdown is ticking for us...  Official Civil-3D training starts next month.  I'm hoping that we've waited long enough, and the software's improved enough, that it should be a less-traumatic experience than the one you had (are having)...
[/quote]

Jump on in, the water is getting calmer.
Next week after SP3 is out Most of the stability and performance issues will have been addressed.
There will still be plenty of Trauma left, but nearly all of that will be self-inflicted by the end user.
A lot of organization will have to be done before you can really start rolling.
Styles will need to be documented. You really want everyone using the appropriate styles in order to produce a uniform product.
The entire workflow issue will need to be addressed.
There are many ways to organize and produce projects. You have to figure out what works best in your environment.
That can vary from project type to project type.
You have to decide now the Vault question.
As you know I'm not much of a Vault fan BUT in some cases it can be quite helpful depending on your business structure.

Communicate, Compromise and Document.

Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2006, 03:03:09 PM »
I don't know; the hands-on is totally vital . . .
It is ALL vital . . . but I have regretted every note I failed to take or neglected to transcribe into legible instructions that night because I KNEW I could remember that.  Most of my SOS calls would have not been necessary had I made sure I had recorded the stuff I had only one chance to get.

Sinc, I am jealous.  I am at least a year overdue for a refresher with zero chance of getting it.  You are fortunate in that your company sees the value in investing in training.

Jeff_M

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2006, 04:10:41 PM »
.... but I have regretted every note I failed to take or neglected to transcribe into legible instructions that night because I KNEW I could remember that.  Most of my SOS calls would have not been necessary had I made sure I had recorded the stuff I had only one chance to get.
AMEN, brutha!

When I was first getting into DCA I never took notes because I COULD remember what I learned for long periods of time. LDT came along and it wasn't all that much different so I could still remember most things I learned.

Then came C3D.......and the fact those memory brain cells don't seem to stay as charged as they once did. (I will soon have my last 40 something birthday.) I still have a really hard time remembering to write down what just took 3 hours to figure out, that will take 2 minutes in the future......if I can only remember what it is.

As John stated, it is paramount to document your styles. So much can be done with them, but improper use can make your drawing set look totally flawed.

jpostlewait

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2006, 05:41:28 PM »
Dino mentioned this a while ago and I would like to comment

>>You gotta stay true to your school so I'm sticking with Michael's postion.  You are right that you have to get the key people on board, but sometimes when the rules change the key people may exchange roles.  Someone waiting in the wings for a team leader to move on may get a better grip on this new game in three days than team leader ever will.<<

This is the question that really has me stumpted.
The total number of installs in our Org. is roughly 80 of LDT.
We have a core group of "Heavy Lifters" who build the surfaces, create the pipe networks, balance the sites, etc.
That's in the 20-30 range.
Then there are LDT users how only do a little bit of LDT functionality.
Survey group.
Copy drafter types in a couple groups.
Couple of Architects that do Prelim. site plans for their projects.
Couple of Landscape Archies.
Some project manager types that are good enough to open a drawing and get what they need without Jacking things up. A few of them actually had Mad cad skills at some point but now are in the attend meetings and prepare for presentations mode.

What do I do with them?
If you are in a Vault environment they may not even be able to open a file without doing some damage.

My personal view of where the business is going is if all you can do is redline hard copy You are no longer an engineer. If you can pass a P.E. exam without being required to bring a laptop it's time to change the examination process. The licence renewall process needs to be examined.
If your Marketing group buys lunch and brings in a Pipe salesman and awards you Continuing education you are kidding yourself. A lot of what I just said is an exaggeration today. But 5 years from now it may be gospel.

When you mentioned some people may have to exchange roles
How do you exchange roles when the guy who isn't any good at it makes twice what the guy that gets it is?

Like I said this one has me stumpted.

mjfarrell

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2006, 09:41:04 PM »
JP,


Interesting, I've had two distinct reactions to the paradigm that C3D, and intelligent modeling as a whole impact the company model. One company, was upset to hear that the traditional model of an Engineering company was being replaced by C3D.  The archaic model of pushing red-lines around, is being replaced by a process wherein data and Engineering intersect to produce smarter plans, the intelligent model, faster with higher profit margins.
At another place a young man reacted in shock and fear as he realized that C3D could quite possibly eliminate his job.  Luckily his manager observed that a good designer would always be of value, whereas someone with simple cad functionality has their days numbered to say the least.

Now to this pay issue.  You know it has long been a peeve of mine as to how totally arbitrary the pay system can be in the Engineering profession.  I've seen guys performing similar functions, paid more because they also happened to be married.  Women paid less; only because they were women.  Or in a personal case; as network administrator/cad manager I developed some processes for them, only I didn't have a job number to bill my time to I missed out on a sizable bonus.  So as you can see, I'm as baffled as you are.

C3D, may or may nor offer any real hope for either of us in the area.  However, IF your company were to get everyone excited about using the product, now there's a different story. Firstly, some will reinvent themselves as the writing on the wall becomes clear that they soon wont have a job without the skillset being shown them in class. Second, some will reinvent themselves because they will see C3D as an opportunity to gain greater skills and responsibilities within the project. Some managers(engineers) will see that if they properly mentor the staff around them, that C3D allows them more time to manage the project, and easily modify the design elements without destroying the drafted output.

Should the tools within C3D be placed in the hands of those that most properly understand the site, and it's unique design constraints the connection between  the drafted output and the design model is total.  C3D calls out for retraining your staff and rethinking the workflow, and
processes, otherwise you risk losing the advantages it gives you.  Properly trained C3D will let you do more with less. Now how you go about getting paid more for doing more, well I don't have a good answer for that one. 

Be your Best


Michael Farrell
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Dinosaur

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Re: Lessons learned.
« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2006, 11:23:15 PM »
Thanks Michael, I have been trying to figure out how to say that for a couple hours.  I have wondered since the first time I fired up r10 how long a journeyman CAD drafter could hang on to a job once the designers figured out they could "sketch" their stuff out in CAD and take a little bit of care about how they were doing it, skipping the drafter position for all but the most basic tasks.  Civil 3D takes this to a new level that surprisingly my little shop is positioned to take full advantage of.  Our engineer typically designs only the final grading and the storm sewer system.  The balance of his time is taken up with administrative tasks such as meetings, permits, final checks before submittal and basic trouble shooting.  There is a good chance he also does some of his own CAD work and even running prints, eh dgrebel.  The balance of the design falls on a designer who also does most of his CAD work.  The CAD drafter is most often in a training role for a designer position, but also picks up any left over CAD work.
John's situation reminds me of what I was facing only 3 years back.  I had been quite content since 1996 working in r13 and EaglePoint.  I resisted the push to upgrade to 2004 and LDT and spent most of one year finishing off the r13 projects to avoid the hassle of converting things.  I used LDT just enough to get the basics and grudgingly managed to get some projects out with it while rookies like photodave jumped in and still are better using it than I am.  I despised LDT then and still do; if our new plotter had not refused to plot r13 correctly I might still be trying to use r13 for some real production.  Civil 3D changed that for me - if nothing else it was going to boot the hated LDT off my computer for good.  I was motivated and I started "getting it" rather easily.  I have seen other designers equal to or even much better than I struggle with the program because they were threatened rather than motivated and one notable case has turned completely when there was more motivation than threat.
Perhaps it may be that John has to have Civil 3D teams AND LDT teams.  Work it out between clients and the teams who will do what job to keep things fair.  When I worked in seismic exploration, we had two types of contract for a crew.  One was a basic (and quite "healthy") monthly charge that included all crew expenses even if the entire month was weathered out .  The other type was a Turn Key contract that had a minimal base amount, the client reimbursed expenses along with a big incentive fee for every hole that was successfully recorded.  Only during 2 very bleak winter months did the Turn Key crew not kick the monthly crew's collective keesters all over the northern great plains.  I wonder how an LDT team might fare if they were working in a Turn Key situation when compared to a Civil 3D team where compensation was supplemented by production numbers.  I also wonder how long there would be LDT teams.