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Published March 2003 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Icemaker^(TM): an excel-based environment for collaborative design


The creative process of team design can be rapid and powerful when focused, yet complex designs, such as spacecrafit, can slow and quench the essential elements of this process. Concurrent Engineering techniques partially address this problem, but a fuller realization of their benefits require an approach centering on the human aspects of teamwork. ICEMaker^(TM) is a Microsoft Excel® based software tool that facilitates closer-to-ideal collaboration within teams employing the new Integrated Concurrent Engineering (ICE) methodology. ICE is a generic approach that emphasizes focused collaborative design in a single-room context, and is now employed at several aerospace organizations to increase the productivity of design teams defining complex early development-phase products. By way of introduction, this paper describes the basic elements of ICE needed to understand ICEMaker and its application. We present the design approach, philosophy, and client-server architecture of the ICEMaker system, as well as a simplified user scenario. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has recently adopted ICEMaker for its primary early-phase space mission and system advanced project design team, Team-X. We describe Team-X's experience with ICEMaker and report on the lessons learned, and qualitative product improvements, resulting from JPL's implementation of ICEMaker.

Additional Information

© 2003 IEEE. IEEEAC paper #1564, Updated January 25, 2003. ICEMaker was developed for the Laboratory for Spacecraft and Mission Design (LSMD) at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The two primary sponsors of the LSMD during the development of ICEMaker were JPL and TRW Space & Electronics (Redondo Beach, California).

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