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There are reasonable and somewhat logical business reasons not to employ the latest and greatest release of Autodesk Civil 3D 2024. Our on-going civil engineering and survey projects are a reality. There are certainly valid technical reasons to wait for the upcoming Autodesk Civil 3D 2024.1 Update.

Out here in Civil 3D Land, some people upgrade only on odd releases and some folks upgrade only on even releases. There are historical, mythical, and magical reasons for these approaches. Is the odd or even upgrade thing superstition?

All that jazz can create some great funk. Stevie Wonder said it best:

When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,

Superstition Ain't the Way

Trust me. I do not mean to imply here that we don’t understand Civil 3D. Quite the contrary. All too often we know and experience too much Autodesk Upgrade pain. I call this effect the Upgrade Flinch. Maybe it's just a facial tick. Eheh.

In recent years the official Autodesk Civil 3D release numbers often have more to do with changes in the Autodesk platform code than the Civil 3D code itself. For more than a few years, most of the significant Civil 3D code upgrades occur within a release’s internal Updates. In other words, Civil 3D 20##.0 has fewer Civil 3D changes than a Civil 3D 20##.1 or 20##.2 etc.

Visit our Autodesk Online Help page and review the online help file What’s New pages to confirm this for many recent releases of Civil 3D.

Autodesk Sells the Next Big Thing

What each of us decides is a significant Civil 3D change or improvement worthy of the effort to upgrade our production project software is a matter of vigorous debate. The discussion can be a bunch of fun. Same as Stevie’s legendary pop funk hit. Some riffs are indeed memorable. Many pop songs are simply boring and repetitive.

We in Civil 3D Land do face business and technical Upgrade challenges.

The Business Decision Mechanics of Upgrades

The decision to Upgrade our production project software from one release of Autodesk Civil 3D cannot be like the coin toss at an NFL game. Heads or Tails?

Whoa. Wait a second.
Isn’t that decision exactly like that ritual coin toss?
The coin toss is not about win or lose.
The toss is all about how we start to play the next game.

Only our preparation and ability to deliver repetitive execution matters when a Civil 3D release Upgrade or an incremental Civil 3D Update drops.

Civil 3D is a Team Sport

Whatever Civil 3D release we are in, our team must be prepared to play the game as though our livelihoods depend on it. No matter which way the coin toss falls, we have work to get done and then push our project work out the door.

Upgrade Avoidance Strategy

We can all choose to forego the use of any of the specific Civil 3D Release Upgrade or incremental Update features and benefits in the short term. Project completion deadlines are a reality.
Clock management is an important component of our success.

No long-term Upgrade avoidance strategy I have heard of or seen implemented, can ignore the inertia of software change in today’s competitive AEC environment.
An Upgrade avoidance usually increases our Total Cost of Ownership (TOC).
The software is the least of our expense problems. Why?

Incremental Change

Repetitive small incremental technology changes are demonstrably less expensive to implement.
Why we purchase subscription and why Autodesk wants to sell us the subscription as well.
Unquestionably, it is less expensive to update our customized systems that Civil 3D depends on incrementally.
The Framework for Civil 3D could not exist as a viable product if that was not a fact.

Production down and distance matter in the block and tackle game of daily Project work.

Notably more frequent and regular small changes are much easier for Civil 3D users to adjust to.
The cost and depth of the retraining time investment required is considerably less.

Train or Retrain

We always face a retraining issue not a training issue in a production environment dependent on continuously developed software.

The work we know how to do does not remain the same unless…
we expect the work to be that way.

This nuanced effect is intentionally built into how modern software is developed.
Continuous development works better for software vendors whether we like that or not.

We learn to help our Civil 3D users to adapt to an ever-changing environment or we don’t.
Repetitions and practice matters.

A Brief Example

Let’s employ a simplistic example to make the point.
The Civil 3D create an Alignment from a polyline tool hasn’t changed in Civil 3D since it’s initial beta release. A Civil 3D Alignment is still an alignment. Right? Not exactly. We could argue that Autodesk spent more time on Alignment-related code development over the last decade than all the rest of Civil 3D.

What we can achieve with a DREF shared project-based Alignment changed significantly between 2021 and 2024. There are important changes within many of the incremental Updates that those numbered releases contain.

If we employ Civil 3D 2021 or 2022 with the latest Updates, the Civil 3D Alignment, Pipes, PPipes, and Corridor a code is better and less buggy because of development code work done for 2023 and 2024. We get some production benefit via the Civil 3D Updates without changing releases. Hoorah.

We hear that there is some new Civil 3D 2023 or Civil 3D 2024 bug.

The Magical Thinking

We go on doing what we do; happy that we managed to beat the system.
We only avoid the Upgrade Flinch.

We can totally miss that some of the work we must do in 2021 or 2022 has been significantly reduced by many changes up to and including those in 2023 and 2024.
What those exactly might be often doesn’t matter.

People favor a consistent narrative over inconsistent facts.
We humans tend to argue in ignorance, or in denial, if you like.

We painfully deploy 2022 or 2023 usually because a new project demands it, or we finally see something useful in there.

It is safe to say that many go kicking and screaming into the fray.

Painful Human Realities

Our Civil 3D users employ the software like they did in 2021 or 2022 because the older method and practice (workflow) will typically continue to work.

Autodesk is very careful not to allow that sort of breakdown to occur for well-learned and painful reasons. Autodesk history says that programmers, like the rest of us simpletons, tend to learn the hard way. Eheh.

Read and React?

I trust you get it that the specific Civil 3D release numbers be they odd or even have almost nothing to do with our actual production environment challenges in Civil 3D.
The challenge is not about our capacity to react.

The real challenge is all about our ability to proactively adapt.

We must ask,

“What if the Civil 3D Release or Civil 3D Update hardly mattered?”

You guessed it. We all end up with something like the Framework for Civil 3D.

The Power to Adapt for Civil 3D
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