Making pay and conditions easily understood for ADF members

PACMAN (the Pay And Conditions MANual) is the source of record for members of Australia’s military to understand their conditions of service – pay, allowances, and benefits. It is the equivalent of around 1500 A4 printed pages of legal determinations and explanatory material that can be densely detailed. For many members of the ADF, especially those who do not work with it daily, it can be difficult to understand and often impenetrable. In many instances, members defer to pay and conditions experts rather than self-serving.

The team responsible for PACMAN understood that the material could be written in a form that was more accessible, and having committed to using the Digital Transformation Agency’s Service design and delivery process, needed expert help with field research, design, and agile coaching.

Defence engaged acidlabs to add capacity and capability to their team for several weeks as they undertook as Discovery process to learn from ADF members how they used PACMAN, where they found it useful, and where it challenged them. We provided coaching and mentoring as well as tactical design capability throughout Discovery including leading the team on a two-week field study to six bases to interview ADF members and Defence civilians.

We coached the team the fundamentals of a range of design techniques including qualitative research methods, post-research synthesis and affinity mapping of research data, journey mapping, user needs analysis, empathy mapping, persona development, agile work methods, and research reporting.

A more extensive case study is available on our blog.


Department of Defence


February-April 2018

Approaches used

service design, user experience design, facilitation, organisation design

Related topics

government, interviews, observational research, prototyping, qualitative research, coaching, mentoring