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Training for doing a certain type of drawings?
3

Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)
I'm trying to train an employee for how to do demolition drawings. My question isn't specifically about demolition; it's more generally how to train anyone for a complicated engineering/drafting task. But demolition is on my mind right now, so here's my plan:

-Sit with an employee and do the entire drawing with them, start to finish
-Record the whole thing so I don't have to go through that again for another employee

Is this a good idea? Here's what I've already tried, and failed at:

-Making a 10 minute general video about all demolition projects, and what to look out for. Providing sample drawings. Doesn't work because it's too general, and people seem to need step-by-step instructions.
-Making a 90 page guide. Doesn't work because it took someone a whole day to go through it and study it, and their demolition drawings still weren't that good.
-Gradually teaching people over time (which I think is the default way most training is done). It works, but it takes a ton of time and is not sustainable in the long run. Like when a fully trained employee leaves, I have to start again.

I've been reading a book called The E-Myth Revisited, and it advocates using a repeatable system for training. But it sadly doesn't go into specifics because it's such a general idea. I'm trying to make a repeatable system in my practice. It specifically argues against the default method of training most people do, so maybe it's right or wrong, but I want to try to find a standardized way.
Replies continue below

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RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Perhaps a combination of all four approaches would be best:
General overview video to get people started with familiarity.
Detailed guide for reference.
Video of going thru an example drawing start to finish.
Gradual teaching on unique issues for each job.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

I think having a really good template is the best starting point. I spent the most time setting up good CAD templates and CAD standards when I started my business, which made hiring and training CAD techs much easier. I have dropdown notes/details for most situations. Then my training videos are more about how to use the template and how to translate my instructions into what they need to do within the template to create a drawing set.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

2
I'm with SWComposites.

"No plan survives first contact with the enemy." In this case, your 'enemy' is the employee. No two are exactly alike and a strict training regimen of any kind is only going to serve one type of employee well. A dynamic training strategy, on the other hand, will give you the tools to adapt to the needs of the employee you're training. I think that strategy should be to have all of those in place and see where the employee picks it up and is able to run with it.

Quote (milkshakelake)

Doesn't work because it took someone a whole day to go through it and study it, and their demolition drawings still weren't that good.

Reassess your expectations. Unless you hired somebody with significant experience in demolition design/drawings and you just gave that document to them to adapt their existing knowledge to your format, you shouldn't expect independently usable work products after 2 days.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)
Thanks for the tips. I agree that I think doing all 4 things might be a good way. Kind of attack it on all fronts.

@phamENG The expectations thing is tough. Some people can catch on after just a general overview, even if they're a fresh graduate and never done demo before. Some take a lot more time, even if they're experienced engineers. I generally just fire the ones that can't catch on at all, but the ones that are between bad and good...I end up running in cycles in my head about:
1. How come someone less experienced caught on more quickly?
2. Is there something wrong with my training?
3. Should I fire this person and go through interviewing like 8 people again?
4. Should I be patient and work on them more?

@LOTE I do that too; I've spent hundreds of hours on standards. Though maybe it still needs more work on usability. It's going to always be a work in progress, but I probably need to spend more time on it right now.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)
@GegLocock Do you feel like the wiki was more useful than simple Word documents?

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Quote (milkshakelake)

1. How come someone less experienced caught on more quickly?
2. Is there something wrong with my training?
3. Should I fire this person and go through interviewing like 8 people again?
4. Should I be patient and work on them more?

1) Some people are able to do that. Some people go into situations and, since it's been done, they know they can find a way to do it and will. Other people assume they can't until they're shown they can. And lots of people fall somewhere in between or outside of those two. Some people also just 'get it.' For instance - I worked with a guy who was great at designing concrete structures. An absolute wizard. But give him a steel structure or, heaven forbid, a wood structure, and he'd come to pieces. Just wasn't comfortable with it and didn't have the 'feel' for it.

2) Maybe? If lots of different people can't succeed, then maybe you should switch it up. But also realize that you can't be everything to everyone. You have to draw the line somewhere.

3) Perhaps you could find a way to see where people fall on the spectrum of item 1? I read an interesting topic recently about building a company culture of 'intraprenuership'. The idea is that you seek out and hire people have entrepreneurial tendencies - they take the initiative, they set aggressive goals, they learn on their own or otherwise seek out the information they need to accomplish the goals, etc. You obviously have to be careful and make sure they don't go too far on their own and also hope they don't run away with your clients in 5 years, but if done right and managed well it's supposed to build a really dynamic team for companies running lean.

4) Up to a point: probably.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Quote (Greg Locock)

Yes, since it was always up to date and accessible via the browser.

Who updated it? How often? Did various subject matter experts have ownership of certain wiki subjects?

See, I know myself, I probably wouldn't bother updating a wiki often, even if I was responsible for it, unless I referred to it frequently. But then, if I am the SME, why would I...

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

We all updated it to some extent. Either if we'd just created a new process and wanted to socialise it, or written a matlab script that automated something dull, or wanted to show off, or had a presentation that was worth keeping, or had investigated something odd in the world of vehicle dynamics. It worked quite well until we switched to a new documentation control process that meant it had to be rigorously policed each year and any transient or out of date stuff deleted (different records have different retention periods). I called it Corporate Alzheimers.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

For almost anything, there are at least two schools of teaching method
> baby steps
> throw them into the deep end
> everything in-between

This must be couched with the understanding that there is also always a distribution to learning ability and absorption of method of teaching. Some people are just quick to learn certain things; that's their super-power. Others are slower to learn or require a specific teaching method; so a multitude of teaching methods is often required to maximize training efficiency and minimize instructor frustration.

> We were once in a meeting with the MEs discussing their design for a fixture; our customer's SME came in, saw the slide of the drawing of the fixture and commented, "Isn't the resonant frequency of the fixture at xx-Hz too low for this test?" All of our MEs got a deer in the headlights look, but their further FE analysis showed the SME nailed the frequency simply from eyeballing a drawing on a Powerpoint slide. Some people just have the knack and are at the far end of the distribution.

> I've run across at least two technicians that seemingly got brain wipes once they punched out. One almost blew up the lab and themselves because they forgot to check something that was on their checklist; same person required multiple iterations of, "the machine isn't dispensing fluid" followed by "did you check the fluid tank level?" Those are at the opposite end of the distribution.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

IME junior staff get tossed into the deep end with reference prints, standards, and an experienced checker to explain markups. After 6-12 months they begin annual continuing education courses in advanced GD&T, tolerance stacks, etc.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)

Quote (phamENG)

2) Maybe? If lots of different people can't succeed, then maybe you should switch it up. But also realize that you can't be everything to everyone. You have to draw the line somewhere.

That's the part I struggle with. It's about a 50/50 success rate. I give people benefit of the doubt, so I blame myself for bad training first before I blame anyone else. But based on all the comments here, peoples' grasp on things can vary wildly. All I can do is try to hire the best people I can and improve the training regimen. And have a fallback plan if it doesn't work, like firing or reassigning tasks based on their strengths. The reassigning thing isn't great because it's a very small office, so everyone kind of needs to be able to do everything. I'll have more leverage with that when I expand. Also, I had an employee who was a concrete genius but literally couldn't do anything else.

The intrapeneurship thing is an interesting concept. I'll ponder it. Though finding a person like that is like finding a unicorn, but I've done it before, so it makes sense.

@LOTE I've been thinking about what you said. I've kind of fought against the idea of just supplying details to people and making it too easy, because I want them to actually understand what they're doing. I had a request for labeling each detail's use case, but shot it down because people with general knowledge should and will know how to use it. But I might trial it on some projects. How did you actually implement a drop down menu type of system? Was it using Excel or AutoCAD LISP?

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

If the person is good... then #4 is the best pick... as long as they don't take their training to another firm. You can put together a procedure for handing demolition plans to use as a guide. Sit down and explain the project and what needs to be done... and, let him loose. Answer any questions and keep track of the progress... outlining things that need to be included or excluded. Taking the time will be best for both, subject to the earlier caveat. I was always into giving a brief discussion and letting the junior proceed on his own, and doing a mild citique afterwards if necessary (keeping track to see that things did not go off the wire). I worked with draftsmen the same way.

I worked with a young engineer about 40 years back that was sharp (almost). I could explain something to him in detail and after asked if he understood what I'd discussed. He would say yes, and then would occasionally turnaround and ask a question that meant he had not understood anything...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)
@dik Most people aren't good...but I agree that throwing people into the deep end is the right method for some. That's how I deal with the people who intuitively understand everything. Last week, I explained how to do concrete to someone who has never done it before, and she designed a complicated 6 story building in one week with slab design and punching shear, and it was 95% correct. She didn't even know what a column strip was before that. Some people just "have it."

Anyway, since this is a public forum and someone might stumble upon this later, I figured out something that helps a lot. I made a checklist (for demolition) and had someone in training fill it out after finishing drawings. It has about 50 items. After the person went through it, we identified exactly which areas he was having trouble with. It's a great training tool, and probably good for checking experienced people too. (Thanks phamENG for the idea a while back.)

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Got to the end of the thread, but it seems you have already found the Checklist! A great idea. My thoughts:

1. What makes the drawings not good? Is it CAD stuff like bad use of lineweights or notes VS. technical stuff like incomplete sequence or incorrect solution? I would ask those questions and let that feed the Checklist.

2. I'm a big fan of The Manual, which can take a lot of time to update and keep relevant. Also, most people won't read the manual because it's 90-pages.

3. The Wiki idea is interesting, especially if you have a bunch of remote or younger employees (probably also older employees, too). I like that idea better than the 10-minute video. It would be relevant if your employee is constantly missing little concepts.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

MSL... most people I've encountered can handle #4, and they pick up very quickly... It's throwing them into the deep end with a little guidance if necessary. Those that adapt are generally really good and good to keep as long term employees. I've had a couple of draftsmen complain about the approach, only to realise it was the best way to do it... I also used to take draftsmen (binary for PC) out to site to see what they are really drawing...

Early in my career, shortly after being registered, I took over the practice of an engineer that lost his license (he was also one of my profs at university). He'd let me do the design and would then critique it... it was up to me if I wanted to redesign parts of the work. That's largely how I got into using plastic design for steel 'warehouse' framing (and other stuff). I learned so much in those few years...

-----*****-----
So strange to see the singularity approaching while the entire planet is rapidly turning into a hellscape. -John Coates

-Dik

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

(OP)
@skeletron Yeah, I love my Ultimate Manual That Covers Everything And Should Basically Be Required Reading For Every Human, but nobody is going to read it, even if I pay them to. Hell, I paid for a library of expensive books written by the most knowledgeable engineers in the world, and I only read a few pages when I can't figure something out and am forced to. I think the Wiki would be better, with bite-sized pieces of info.

@dik I guess my experience is different. Most people need rigorous training. I've tried the mentoring approach and throwing people into the deep end with some tips, but it has turned out some very unproductive people that I had to fire later. It relies on that person being able to figure things out on their own, which most people can't do.

RE: Training for doing a certain type of drawings?

Your experience with mentoring and the "deep end" approach highlights the importance of striking a balance in training methodologies. While some people thrive in a more self-directed and exploratory learning environment, others may require more structured training and guidance. MLSDev devops outsourcing services offers a comprehensive range of services that cater to diverse industry verticals. Some of its key offerings include: Custom Software Development: MLSDev specializes in creating tailor-made software solutions to address specific business challenges. Whether it's web applications, mobile apps, or enterprise software, the company leverages its expertise to deliver solutions that align with client objectives.

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