Design Rationale from Evaluations: PMLAV

The third and final case involves another system project from the Marine Corps domain. This project does not involve design per se, but rather an evaluation project in which DR concepts and representational tools have been used as focusing principles to guide the work and organize its results. As in the second case, techniques from scenario-based design and claims analysis were used, although adapted here to the task of evaluation of a complex, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) system that supports product lifecycle management (PLM).

Once again, the setting for the study is a unit of the United States Marine Corps, the office of the program manager, light armored vehicles (PM LAV). The PM LAV has implemented an integrated digital environment (IDE) to support the cooperative and collaborative work of both civilians and Marines in their use, maintenance and evolution of the LAV. The IDE is used by 70 PM LAV personnel as well as at Marine maintenance depots in the United States and in the field.

The PM LAV IDE includes communications (e-mail, videoconferencing), workflow, document management, project management, collaborative engineering, and performance reporting functionality. The PM LAV monitors a fleet of about 800 light armored vehicles deployed worldwide in a variety of configurations and tasked with a range of missions. The program manager is responsible for monitoring LAV health and field performance, developing enhancements to the vehicle, and directing vehicle maintenance. The IDE is designed to support this work with an integrated environment for communications and information management.

We interviewed PM LAV personnel across the organization from staff assistants to division chiefs with a range of responsibilities including engineering, logistics, and business operations. We used a semi-structured interview guide. The guide was designed to elicit scenarios and claims (DR tools) as the basic unit of analysis for the evaluation.

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