Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CAD Time Tracking: Management or Micromanagement?

I participate in a number of social media outlets. From Google+ to various online AutoCAD and other Autodesk product forums such as CADTutor and the AUGI Forums  and even some good old fashioned newsgroups. My primary motivation for participation is to contribute what I can to the body of knowledge regarding AutoCAD. I don't contribute as much as I would like and certainly not as much as many, but my hope is that it is helpful.

Periodically questions come up where someone wants to know how to capture the time spent working on their drawings, or they may have a need to know who has worked on a drawing and when. They may be looking for an easy means of automating their timesheets. Since CadTempo serves as solution to these needs I suggest they try it for the free 30 day trial. Often, a discussion follows when a reader finds the idea of time tracking objectionable for one reason or the other. One reason that is given is the opinion that time tracking constitutes micromanagement.

You would be correct to assume that I am of a different opinion but you may also be surprised to know that I can see how time tracking can indeed be mis-used in a micromanagement way. My desire is that it not be used in that way, but of course I have no control over that. I encourage its use as a macromanagement tool. That is, by using CadTempo to track and analyse time associated with drawing production and establishing benchmarks, a systematic review of current practices can be made and adjustments can be implemented to produce a more efficient and productive environment.

What are your thoughts?


  1. Prior to me starting a small business, I really did not believe in "Tracking Time" on any drafting program and I've been doing this type of work fro over 10 years. Even before using CAD back in the days of manually hand drafting I didn't believe in truly tracking your time. That being said, I now see the value of "Time Tracking" for 2 reasons.

    1.) For billing purposes, meaning I want to be able to "accurately" give a customer a price for doing a project, and bill them appropriately and you can't do that unless you are tracking the time spent on the project.
    This also applies to the large companies, since they now track time the way consultants do by the hours spent on a project.

    2.) To make sure I am not spending too much time on a project and if I am spending too much time why. The why meaning, did we not account for the proper hours to do the project, are we spending "useless time" on the project, etc., etc., etc... ???

    1. Thanks Milt. As a business owner your perspective changes dramatically doesn't it. You may have read that my motivation for creating CadTempo was something other than the first reason you stated, but I do indeed use it for that. Much of the work I do is quoted so it serves as a tool to tell me if I made my margins, or not.