Planning Factors and Analyses
Various analytical activities are needed to develop technical
documentation. The direction of these activities is defined by the maintenance
concept (Process Step 1).
The maintenance concept is the broad, planned approach to sustaining
the product. It is provided by the customer.
The maintenance concept helps determine the level and location where a
product is repaired:
Repair at the customer location (organizational-level maintenance)
Repair at a special repair location (intermediate-level
Repair at a depot or centralized location
The level of maintenance influences the number and type of manuals. Also,
to be effective, a manual must address the actual task(s) and repair
conditions dictated by the level of maintenance.
Similarly, the diagnostics concept (Process Step 2) defines the methods for
identifying and locating faults for repair. The diagnostic concept also helps
determine the best mix of manual and automated methods for determining the
causes of the identified faults. The best mix of manual and automated
diagnostics is deter-mined by:
Life-Cycle Cost (LCC) analysis
Failure Mode, Effects, Criticality Analysis (FMECA)
Level of Repair Analysis (LORA).
Generally, the higher costs of automated diagnostics (i.e., hardware
and software) are offset by less extensive documentation and training
These analyses (Process Step 5) collectively provide data to identify the
required operations and maintenance tasks. For example, failure analysis helps
identify assemblies that might fail and the corresponding frequency of
failure. Then, for each failed assembly, LCC analysis and LORA provide
information to help answer the following questions:
Repair or replace the assembly?
Discard the assembly?
Repair the assembly in-house?
Send the assembly off-site for repair?
Repair by replacing the next higher
Knowing what available resources exist (Process Step 7), such as
facilities, available skills, manning, and support equipment, is also
necessary to answer the previous questions. The result of the analyses is then
summarized in the task analysis process (Process Step 8) with a few key
In task identification (Process Step 6):
Task analysis (Process Step 8) further digests the information provided by
task identification. During task analysis, each subtask is broken down into
all the needed steps to do the required task.
This data is captured in the Logistics Support Analysis Record (LSAR) for
processing into maintenance analysis summary out-puts.
The detailed, step-by-step task analysis information is the basis
for the technical manual operations and maintenance
Frequently, product design can incorporate commercially avail-able
assemblies. These assemblies may have commercial manuals which explain repair
and operation of the assembly. If so, writing new and/or additional technical
documents may not be cost effective. However, the available commercial manuals
must provide information consistent with the new product application and
maintenance concept. Therefore, technical documentation personnel should
evaluate the commercial manuals (Process Step 10) and recommend one of the
following to the customer:
Use the commercial manual
Rewrite the commercial manuals
Write a supplement to address any deficiencies in
the commercial manual.
Commercial manuals are evaluated using a checklist approved by the customer
before the evaluation. (See the Evaluating Commercial Manuals paragraph in the
Application Section.) Each manual is assessed for:
Adequate and appropriate:
- Safety instruction
- Operator instructions
- Maintenance instructions
Physical size and manageability
- Legibility and reading level.
The resulting recommendations should also consider how complex the assembly
is and how appropriate the procedures are.
Maintenance Allocation Summary
The maintenance allocation summary (Process Step 11) documents the results
of task identification and task analysis. This sum-mary indicates such
The following LSAR reports contain summary information needed for technical
The maintenance allocation summary can be documented as a maintenance
allocation chart. The customer can use this chart to approve the recommended
maintenance approach for any given product.
The maintenance allocation chart or the summary LSAR reports should
be used to ensure that technical manual information agrees with spares
and other provisioning information.
Technical Manual Plan
A technical manual plan (Process Step 12) prescribes the general procedures
for planning, preparing, and delivering technical manuals. Usually, it is only
necessary for fairly large and complex products. Generally, the technical
manual plan should include:
An overall description of the product development program and any
limitations and assumptions affecting the program
How to achieve standardization
Impact of any applicable specifications
Technical manual general outlines
Validation and verification procedures
Milestones and interfaces with other logistics
Each technical manual plan has many specific requirements depending on the
needs and directives for each individual situation.
The technical manual plan gives the customer insight into the entire
technical manual development process.
Technical Manual Outline and Preliminary Technical Manual
To guide the writing process, prepare a detailed technical manual outline
(Process Step 13). This outline should address the requirements of applicable
specifications or Data Item Descriptions. The outline should consist
Preliminary technical manual subdivisions:
Brief descriptions of the planned contents of each subheading
All planned tables and illustrations:
- Keyed to specific text headings
- Described by size, nature, and
A comprehensive, detailed technical manual outline is an essential
tool for including all the information needed for proper use and
maintenance of a product.
The technical manual outline is used to write a preliminary technical
manual. This preliminary manual has no particular format and may be just a
printed manuscript or other documentation (e.g., maintenance allocation chart,
engineering drawings). It is used for evaluating the engineering design test
and maintenance. The development of a preliminary technical manual into a
draft technical manual is guided by periodic in-process reviews. The resulting
draft technical manual (Process Step 14) is used for testing and training
Since the training outline and training materials are developed from
the draft technical manual, any deficiencies in the manual will be
reflected in the training.
Even with all the technical manual plans, outlines, and directives, there
is still room for interpretation when writing technical manuals. In-process
reviews (Process Step 15) can benefit everyone producing the technical
manuals. These reviews let the customer give guidance to the contractor
developing the manuals. An in-process review can help avoid wasted effort by
giving early feed-back to the writer. Including maintenance allocation data
and other source data in the review helps ensure that the technical writing
reflects the current design and maintenance approach.
An in-process review should identify problems early, when they can
be resolved with minimum cost and schedule impact.
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Technical Manual Validation and Verification
Validation and verification are closely related but very different and
distinct procedures. The contractor conducts technical manual validation
(Process Step 16) on draft technical manuals to ensure that the written
procedures are accurate and adequate. A formal validation plan and schedule
are usually developed to set specific timing and procedures. Validation should
be completed when:
An engineering review has been complete
Engineering drawings are mature
The documented operations and maintenance procedures
have been developed from data gathered by the LSA process.
During technical manual validation:
The hardware should be available, as needed. (This could be preproduction
LSA data (e.g., the maintenance allocation summary) and recommended source,
maintenance, and recoverability codes should also be assessed.
An effective way to correct detected deficiencies
should be pre-pared.
Technical manual verification (Process Step 17) is the responsibility of
the customer and is usually done at the contractor's facility. The
verification process gives the potential product user an opportunity to ensure
that the equipment can be operated by following the instructions given in the
draft manual. A verification plan is required to guide review and acceptance
of the draft technical manual.
Proper use of the technical manual development process tools - the
technical manual plan and outline, the in-pro-cess reviews, and
validation - should result in verification without any
Simulation of the actual operating manpower, procedures, and equipment is
necessary for technical manual verification. After verification, the
contractor has a specified time period to correct any errors or
For fairly simple, straightforward manuals, validation and verification may
Validation and verification are the ultimate test of the technical
manual development process. They depend on careful and effective
planning and preparation for success. All tools, equipment, and other
requirements must be furnished under realistic conditions and at the