Aligning Teams,
Launching Rockets
What is Iris?
Iris is a collaborative software tool for NASA Space
Launch System discipline engineers.
Iris allows discipline engineers to see how other discipline teams are interpreting and verifying design requirements, encouraging collaborative problem-solving and successful integration.

We are five Master of Human-Computer Interaction students from Carnegie Mellon University who created Iris as part of our Capstone Project. Learn more about the design process here.
Key Features
A central hub
for requirement management
A library
of past rocket design decisions
An interactive visualization
of relationships and dependencies
A communication tool
for aligning requirement usages
Why Iris?
Because coordinating rocket design is hard.
Through generative and evaluative research, we discovered that when discipline teams sync during milestone reviews to ensure all subsystems will integrate, they frequently discover misalignments regarding how a requirement has been interpreted and used. This issue is the result of a lack of transparency across teams, unstructured communication, and lost decision points in a complex, decentralized information environment -- all of which contribute to costly schedule delays, rework, and overall demoralization of teams.

Iris encourages greater transparency of information across teams and provides facilitation and documentation around communication - all while centralizing data for easy access and usage.
A Central Hub
for requirement Management
1. Home Page
A Requirement Dashboard
The homepage serves as a central hub for discipline engineers to access the requirements they need. The page showcases an engineer’s owned requirements and the usage contexts, verification documents, and rationale of each attached team.
Design Spotlight
2. Specific Requirement Page
A Look into Requirement Details
Dedicated to a specific requirement, engineers can see the verification activities other teams have chosen and why, as well as quick view of how data flows across documents and how teams are related to one another. This reminds engineers that their work is a part of a larger system, and it takes collaboration across teams to complete the “bigger picture.”
Design Spotlight
A Communication Tool
for aligning on requirement usages
1. Usage Context Details Page
Commenting on Teams’ Contexts
Designated discussion spaces on each discipline teams’ provides a public space for aligning design assumptions. We created this discussion feature to encourage cross-team communication early and often to catch discrepancies prior to milestone reviews. Integrating conversation facilitating functionality in the data context creates a structure for capturing decision points, solving the problem of lost data.

When a decision has been reached on a discussion post, the original poster can mark a resolution point from any of the post comments. This resolution will be pushed to the top of the post thread as a highlight, alongside the originating post, creating a reference point for other users trying to understand the conversation around the usage context.
Design Spotlight
2. Request for Information (RFI) Form
A More Private and Structured Method of Communication
When a chat conversation can’t capture sufficient granularity or offer the privacy needed for sensitive data, Requests for Information (RFIs) fill the need. RFIs allow engineers to more formally request documentation or information outside the scope of a casual comment. RFIs can later be archived and referenced to inform future designs.
Design Spotlight
A Library
of past rocket design decisions
1. Version History
Tracking Decisions and the Discussions that Lead to Them
NASA makes history, and history makes NASA. Discipline engineers often use past decision-making to help guide their current designs. Historical references can come from decisions made decades ago in past programs, such as Space Shuttle, or just decisions made a few months ago. Regardless, creating a documentation trail of historical decisions is essential. We created the Version History functionality to answer this need and facilitate decision traceability.
Design Spotlight
Interactive Visualizations
of relationships and dependencies
1. Relationships Diagram
Gaining a Holistic Understanding of Dependencies and Connections
A visualization of  the connections between requirements, documents, and teams gives engineers a broad perspective of what’s happening across SLS development. Showing dependencies surfaces critical information that supports engineers in designing integratable subsystems.

An engineer’s needs evolve as the project evolves. Earlier in the program when requirement decisions are in flux, it’s important to understand the larger discipline team ecosystem around you. Later in the program, it’s more important to have an understanding of how models are being used to fulfill documents and what connections are most important.

Helping engineers track where and how team-generated data is being applied across models and reports improves transparency and creates an avenue for additional verification.
Design Spotlight
2. Relationships List View
An Alternative Way to View Document Connections
In addition to monitoring document connections visually in the Relationship Diagram, engineers can also easily access a list view of document connections. This gives them a clear, consolidated way to understand how the data in their documents is being used. It is extremely important for engineers to track how documents interface with one another to ensure everybody is aligned on design decisions and using each other’s data correctly.
Want to see Iris in action?