Project planning for SOLIDWORKS users is a key part of any CAD workflow. Simple or elaborate, project planning how your 3D CAD projects will become shippable, billable, manufacturable goods and services is key to running a real business, right?
A funny part about this is that each of us have drastically different ways of project planning. Sometimes, this depends on company/industry standards or practices. Other times, it depends on the scope of a project, or individual preferences.
To speak personally: I don’t plan all of my projects the same way, if I’m being honest. Over time, I’ve loaded my personal toolkit with several approaches to project tracking and management, and I usually wind up picking whichever approach feels most natural for the task at hand.
Project planning: what SOLIDWORKS Champions really think
Project planning doesn’t have to be hard – and really, it shouldn’t be. And it should be additive to your work and processes. But what does that really mean, anyway? What is considered ‘additive’ to the work and processes of SOLIDWORKS users when it comes to project planning?
A little bit about me: I run many of our livestreaming programs here at SOLIDWORKS. You may be familiar with series like SOLIDWORKS LIVE and LIVE Design (and if you are, I hope you’ve enjoyed them!) – that’s a big part of how I try to bring value to the community today.
Another thing I happened to do while on the SOLIDWORKS team in a previous role is launch the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program. Today, this program spans 60+ countries and is home to hundreds of the best/brightest SOLIDWORKS industry users.
On my current team, we’re responsible for much of the technical content (how-to’s, product introduction materials, and more) that you see popping up on the SOLIDWORKS YouTube channel. This year, as I looked to create a ‘first look’ video at a web app that will be new to some of you (Project Planner), I thought: what is additive to the project planning of Champions?
So, I did a crazy thing. I asked!
Example: Many SOLIDWORKS Champions are reportedly using email as a primary method of communicating change request feedback today.
Now, before I get into some numbers and figures below, I want to clarify: while these figures are ‘real,’ they don’t reflect the opinions or practices of ‘all’ Champions. They reflect the opinions and practices of respondents from the SOLIDWORKS Champions Program. So rest assured, respondents were some of the most involved industry users in the SOLIDWORKS community. Answers in bold indicate highest response rate.
Which tool(s) does your company use to manage projects and deliverables?
- On-premise non-spreadsheet software | 21%
- Web-based tools | 7%
- Spreadsheet-based tools | 48%
- Other | 21%
Do you use mobile apps to track your projects/deliverables?
- Yes | 28%
- No | 72%
Is your design data somehow tied to the project/deliverable management tool(s) you are using?
- Yes | 72%
- No | 28%
Do you consider it helpful for your design data to get tagged or attached to tasks you’ve been assigned to complete or review?
- Yes – knowing which file(s) a task or project pertains to would be great | 100%
- No – this just doesn’t seem to matter that much for us | 0%
Which of the following do you still find yourself doing at your company in a time-wasting capacity?
- Project update meetings/calls | 27%
- Texts/emails/calls asking for or exchanging updates | 38%
- People using different systems, inevitably wasting time | 35%
How do your colleagues request changes?
- Email | 38%
- Fill out form | 16%
- Phone call | 18%
- With PDM/PLM system functionality | 20%
- Other | 8%
So, what did this all mean for me/us?
Firstly, I was deeply appreciative to get the feedback. Some of it surprised me. Some of it did not. I’m sure you’ll feel the same. But secondly, these insights changed my thinking and certainly influenced the voice of the story and simple use cases you can see below.
As I mentioned earlier: project planning shouldn’t be hard or complicated. And with a tool like the one you’ll see in the video embedded here, which hooks right into SOLIDWORKS, it doesn’t have to be obtrusive. And it’ll allow you to drop things like pesky emails/calls for updates in exchange for something a bit more autonomous and less time-consuming. 🙂