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Christiaan

VectorWorks quiz questions for current and potential employees

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most important questions

1

do you draw everything on the correct,

office standard classes?

2

can i break your kneecaps if you don't?

3

do you make 'saved views' with correct

class + layer visibility of every

sheet layer / design layer in a file

intended for printing?

4

can i break your kneecaps if you don't?

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Christiaan says:

I have to say I'm surprised by the level of antagonism toward testing.

Possibly the antagonism comes from the fact that individual CAD people do things differently. If a person fails at some test questions, it doesn't necessarily mean that he needs training. It could mean that he accomplishes the same task in a different way.

Productivity is the goal. If a person is getting his work done on time, he doesn't need testing. If not, then you can investigate how to get him up to speed. Or, in other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Also, in a typical work place, the faster guys usually help the slower guys to get them up to speed, by showing them various tricks that they've learned over the years. You could consider talking to the more productive CAD people to get their take on the situation.

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The "different way" is, from the point of view of the entire practice, in most cases the wrong way. The person who gets his or her work done his or her way may well be extremely counter-productive, as someone else needs to fix everything this "faster guy" (or gal) has broken.

Been there, done that. (Made good money out of it, though.)

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Christiaan, the antagonism to it comes from the fact that it is treating staff in a demeaning manner, and suggest a master serf style of management. To be quite frank if anybody tried pulling a stunt like that with me I would tell them where to shove their job in no uncertain terms.

The greatest asset that any service providing firm has is its staff. Undervaluing the contribution they make, and the individual skills and enthusiasm they bring to the organisation is foolish and not good management. If you don't understand that then you are part of the problem.

Edited by mike m oz

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I have this funny feeling that in most businesses, staff members are expected to work in a way mandated by the firm and this is not considered demeaning. Why, even musicians in an orchestra play 8 semi-demi quavers although a half-note would be more "productive".

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Quite a few years ago I learned that it is the employers responsibility to empower thier people. Architectual design is not your typical factory job regardless of what the CAD crunchers would make you believe. People need purpose and acceptance in the workplace and I'm afraid (as Mike M puts it) that a test is kind of demeaning. I have gotten to know my employees and have learned to respect thier egos' by building their self esteem. I put together a training progam each week that touched on various topics that I felt should be addressed. These topics were areas that my employees were needing improvement. The great thing about the plan was I used them to run certain parts of the weekly seminars. They would spend their own time prior the meetings preparing and learning what they were giving instructions on. It was run like a users group...we all got to know each other much better than in a working environment and best of all it was all done off the clock.

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Petri, requiring work to be done in a particular mandated way does not mean you are demeaning your staff. Measuring their worth using narrow criteria is. It is the management attitude that it suggests which is the problem.

If all Christiaan's bosses want is 'CAD monkeys' then they would be better off outsourcing their work to India or China. They would of course need to send one or two good people over there to coordinate the work and ensure that the documentation is correct. You putting your hand up Christiaan?

Dilbert CAD monkey (very funny):

http://blog.miragestudio7.com/2006/03/dilbert-cad-monkey/

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Petri says:

The person who gets his or her work done his or her way may well be extremely counter-productive...

If the results meet office standards and are done in a timely fashion, then his style of working should be respected.

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Christiaan, the antagonism to it comes from the fact that it is treating staff in a demeaning manner, and suggest a master serf style of management. To be quite frank if anybody tried pulling a stunt like that with me I would tell them where to shove their job in no uncertain terms.

To be quite frank Mike, we'd be more than happy to let you go.

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I put together a training progam each week that touched on various topics that I felt should be addressed. These topics were areas that my employees were needing improvement.

That's exactly what I intend to do myself, but I intend to measure what's needed instead of speculating about what "I feel" should be addressed.

For your interest, having told our users about the quiz and asked for suggestions on questions, I can tell you they're all quite excited. Apparently they like the idea of training based on their needs.

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CAD = burn-out ... no amount of testing or training or relentless infusion of fresh neophyte blood into the system will conquer that mountain...

I suspect that the vast majority of Architects & Engineers prefer to lead much more profitable & sociable careers as A&E retailers than as elbow bleeding CAD Monkeys { or CAD Junkies }.

Inevitably, as all A&E retailers soon discover .. programming the project Cad Monkeys can be as difficult as programming the actual project CAD. Cad Monkeys crash just as often .. too !

And those much vilified CAD Junkies need constant injections of new code challenges { like combining v2008 with Vista & Leopard } to keep their heads in the game .

{ Mr. Christiaan is a Junkie not a Monkey ... }

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We don't have CAD monkeys in our office. It's just not the way our office works. All architects, even the Director, are hands on CAD users.

I'll admit to being a junkie though! Sad but true.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

- George Bernard Shaw

Only an unreasonable man would refuse to conform to the office standard style of working.

The reasonable man will not only conform to published office standards, as David suggested, but will also discover and conform to undocumented aspects of the standard style of working, which Petri equated to office standards. The unreasonable man will find ways to conform to the published standards but work around them in a way that nobody ever thought of before. That makes extra work for the CAD manager, who has to publish new standards to prevent it, and who will thereafter be gunning for the unreasonable man.

In short, the unreasonable man had better look into self-employment, or employment in what NNA used to call "the smart-sized firm."

The real point of the testing discussed here is to avoid hiring unreasonable men. But a good interviewer can do that with general questions that evoke conformist or non-conformist responses. The unreasonable man is unreasonable about everything, not only about CAD work.

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The real point of testing discussed here, since I'm the one who asked the question, is two fold:

1) to help decide between potential employees if the decision comes down to CAD and to confirm that potential employee's CAD skills are what they say they are.

2) to help assess what kind of training of current employees needs to take place and whether it needs to be done in a group or on an individual basis.

Judging by the discussion so far it seems, in fact, that I am the unreasonable man, and therefore progress in our office depends on me surging ahead with rational-based training despite all the emotional comments I've received on this thread. :)

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Not at all, Christiaan. You're perfectly reasonable and rational in your desire to surge ahead with rational-based training. Those emotional comments were made by unreasonable men. Unreasonable people are often emotional.

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I once worked in an organisation where one of the managers came up with 'the bright idea' of measuring the performance of their computer operators by keeping records of the number of keystrokes each person did in a working day. Those who were below average were 'counselled' about their poor performance. No attempt was made to factor in the quality of the output or the difficulty of the work the individual was performing.

Eighteen months later the manager was bemoaning the fact that most of the good people had left. He was one of the few that didn't get it that he was the cause of the exodus.

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Judging by the discussion so far it seems, in fact, that I am the unreasonable man, and therefore progress in our office depends on me surging ahead with rational-based training despite all the emotional comments I've received on this thread.

You wish...

Shaw did not mean that progress depends on men who force other men and women to adhere to an antiquated, irrelevant standard that reflects the musty ideas of The Management.

A rationale by any other name is discipline, enforced with an iron fist.

According to Wikipedia, A rationale is a liturgical vestment worn by clergy, in particular by Bishops, in the Roman Catholic Church which uses full vestments. It is humeral ornament, a counterpart to the Pallium, and is worn over the chasuble.

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That keystroke-monitoring thing would be good in Dilbert's office, to detect people like Wally who sleep all day. But of course Wally would just get a "drinking bird" toy and set it to continually tap one of the keys.

Joseph Heller, in a novel about the time when he worked for AT&T, had a co-worker point out to the protagonist that you can walk around the office all day doing nothing as long as you carry a sheet of paper.

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We don't seem to have any problems with enforcement Petri. Most of our current users are well aware of the advantages of standards because they've all watched our office transformed by the implementation of them. No, our problem is *knowledge* of standards which is a result of a lack of documentation and training. Our main problem, however, is people's knowledge of VectorWorks, which is my main focus.

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Hey, I'm all in favour of liturgical vestments! They just have to be documented. If you also want the users to actually don them, the vestments have to make their lives easier.

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The other day I sat down at a fellow students Vectorworks stations I discovered I couldn't do a thing without my workspace. I had no idea where menu items were or how to edit or change modes. If I had taken a test, you would conclude I know very little about Vectorworks and would not be productive.

I would do really well on the keyboard count productivity scale on my system. Everything I do is left handed keystokes and right handed mouse buttons, wheels, and moves.

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