Ergonomic challenges for digitization: learning from analog mission planning processes

Neville A Stanton, Guy H Walker, Paul Salmon, Daniel P Jenkins

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This article aims to consider the conventional, analog, mission planning
process with the objective of identifying the decision making constraints
and challenges for digitization. Prototypes of digital mission planning systems
are beginning to be devised and demonstrated, but there has been
concern expressed over the design of such systems which fail to understand
and incorporate the human aspects of socio-technical systems
design. Previous research has identified many of the potential pitfalls of
failing to take Human Factors considerations into account as well as the
multiplicity of constraints acting on the planners and planning process.
An analysis of mission planning in a Battle Group is presented, based on
an observational study by the authors. This study illustrates the efficiency
of an analog process which has evolved over many generations to form
the Combat Estimate, a process that is mirrored by forces throughout the
world. The challenges for digitization include ensuring that the mission
planning process remains easy and involving, preserving the public nature
of the products, encouraging the collaboration and cooperation of the
planners, and maintaining the flexibility, adaptability and speed of the
analog planning process. It is argued that digitization should not become
an additional constraint on mission planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalInternational c2 Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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