Design of new computer-based environments to replace or augment traditional, manual work procedures is typically problematic due to its experimental and embedded nature: the requirements for the computer-based version of the task may not be well defined, and the outcome of introducing computer-based support may well change the nature of the task altogether. This paper illustrates these issues through a discussion of the evolution in the design of CSRS, an instrumented, computer-supported cooperative work environment for formal technical review. CSRS was originally designed in response to well-recognized shortcomings in traditional, non-computer-based formal technical review methods. The initial design was thus founded upon a principle-centered basis, where the system was oriented toward solving known problems in the domain of formal technical review. Over time, the design has evolved toward a more organization-centered basis, in which the system is oriented toward support for adoption and use within organizations, even if that support conflicts with the “principles” of formal technical review. We conjecture that such an evolution may be inevitable in experimental and embedded design domains.