Dynamic work strategies require arrangements for appropriate and timely decision support.
The Triad is all about making timely, cost-effective decisions based on real-time data streams. This imposes extra requirements from a decision support perspective for project success. Primary among these extra requirements is getting data in the hands of decision-makers when they need it, in a format that is useful and easily interpreted, whether they are on site or off site.
Within a Triad-based field activity, there are potentially several layers of decision-making. The first layer includes relatively straightforward decisions that are the responsibility of field team leads. These typically are decisions associated with conditions anticipated by the work plan and/or decisions that are relatively inconsequential in nature (e.g., moving a sampling location over several feet to avoid an obstruction). The second layer covers decisions that are more significant, and that require consultation with and direction from senior project leads who may or may not be on-site. These typically also require some additional level of technical input (e.g., from an analytical chemist if there are concerns about measurement system performance). The third layer covers decisions that can only be made at the level of a Triad core group (e.g., determining whether closure has been achieved for specific portions of a site). The decision support needs of each layer are distinctly different. For example, in the last two cases one will need to expeditiously share information with personnel who are not necessarily present at a site.
Triad real-time measurement systems include the software and hardware necessary to assist in the real-time use of data for decision-making. Triad software and hardware requirements are not fundamentally different from those that would be required for a traditional project, with the exception that these supporting tools need to be available to manage, integrate, analyze, and disseminate data in a much more timely fashion than would otherwise be expected. Spreadsheets, databases, and visualization or mapping software will be required, as well as potentially more sophisticated forms of data analysis tools. The complexity of supporting software and hardware will be determined by the requirements of the task at hand (e.g., the amount of data to be generated, the types of data analyses required, the time frame for decision-making, etc.). Whether these capabilities are actually taken to the field or arrangements made to provide them remotely is a site-specific logistical decision. In the case of the latter, the communication infrastructure will need to be in place for timely information sharing between site-based field staff and personnel at other locations.
The development of the World Wide Web and associated technologies and capabilities has expanded the possibilities for data sharing and decision support. Login/password secured project support Web sites can serve as repositories for project information that provide real-time access to stakeholders and technical staff where ever they are located. This can be a particularly critical capability when a project relies on higher-level technical expertise that is not cost-effective to have on-site all the time, but that is essential at key points in project progress. Web-enabled access to live maps, databases, spreadsheets, and documents are all possible.