Instruction Manual Sample

I wrote this 32-page manual as I learned the process independently through experience and through interviews with various team members, engineers, and technical advisors. The previous documentation was a one-page outline that became part of the table of contents. 

Post Delivery Activities

Manual for 

Test Instruction Development Process

 

for DRMAP Corporation (fictionalized name)

 

 

Purpose

This document is written primarily for Technical Writers at DRMAP Corporation. It guides writers in developing consistently high-quality instructions (TIs) for using a DSMAP software product that tests complex medical diagnostic equipment. It is a living document that will be updated regularly or when development processes change.

DRMAP develops cables and software used for testing separate components of complex diagnostic equipment. Because critical decisions are informed by the results of such equipment, it is crucial that the equipment be as accurate and consistent as possible. Therefore, the software developed for testing and calibrating this equipment must also be accurate and consistent.

Developing testing software involves two separate but parallel processes: product development and TI development. In early stages, both product and TI development are somewhat loosely associated. In late stages, TI and product development are closely associated.

     

Overview

Product Development

The DRMAP software product development process incorporates milestone reviews and tests to confirm that the product performs according to requirements and that development and delivery will meet targeted deadlines.

Engineering personnel develop the software products, receiving client directions primarily by phone. Engineers follow this chronological order of review and test milestones in developing the new product:

Product development milestones - Early stages:

  1. Kick-off Meeting

  2. Bench Test (sometimes called a Discovery Test)

  3. First Review

  4. Critical Review

  5. Final Bench Test 

Product development milestones - Late stages:

  1. Confirmation Test 

  2. Final Test

  3. Delivery

 

The order of the Bench Test, the two reviews, and the Final Bench Test can vary and usually occur in-house. The First Reviews and Critical Reviews are often combined into a single review. Reviews are usually conducted as phone conferences between the engineers and the client. Topics discussed are usually about the progress of a project rather than about a test, procedures, or equipment. The Confirmation Test and Final Test usually occur at an industrial facility.

     

TO Document Development

A TI is a set of instructions for testing a specific piece of equipment. The TI development process begins when

1) a client company needs new software to test new equipment, which requires a new TI, or

2) an existing TI is outdated and needs to be replaced or amended.

 

Development engineers write an initial TI from a template or from previously developed TIs that directly relate to the new TI.

TI development is highly structured and is targeted for a specific review or test event. The TI and product development processes are loosely parallel in early stages and closely parallel in the late stages. The document undergoes several reviews before it is ready for a specific test event in late stages.

Technical writers guide the document development by editing, coordinating peer reviews, attending test events, correcting and verifying documents, and managing data. Writers work closely with the development engineers and the Configuration Manager to complete the TIs within the appropriate time frame for each project. The TI development process has specific milestones in this chronological order:

 

TI Development Milestones - All Stages

  • Kick-off Meeting

  • 40% TI

  • 80% TI

  • Verification TI

  • Validation TI

  • Pre-pub TI

 

                      

  

 

Timing Details – Early Stages

TI development and product development milestones are not always directly linked to each other. Linking the specific document type to a specific review or test event is not always assured at the early stages. The general parallels follow:

  • The 40% TI usually links with either of the reviews.

  • The 80% TI usually, but not always, links with the Critical Review, but can be part of the Bench Test or Final Bench Test process. It is usually completed for the Final Bench Test.

  • A combined 40%/80% TI is usually completed for the Final Bench Test.

 

Technical writers are not required to attend the Bench Test or Final Bench Test, but they usually do attend. However, they are required to attend the First Review and Critical Review. Changes to the subject TI do not always occur at the reviews.

Reviews or tests are sometimes combined. In those cases, TI development stages are also combined to match the review test events, as follows:

  • A 40%/80% TI links to a combined First Review/Critical Review.

  • A 40%/80% TI might not link to a combined Bench Test/Final Bench Test.

     

Timing Details – Late Stages

The timing of the Verification and Validation TI s and the Development Test and Operational Test is directly linked:

  • The Confirmation TI links directly to the Confirmation Test.

  • The 90% TI links directly linked to the Final Test.

  • A combined Confirmation/Pre-Final TI links to a Confirmation/Final Test.

  • The Pre-final TI is the result of all changes during and after the test events. It is not associated with a product development milestone.

  • The Final TI Document is the result of peer reviewed Pre-Final TI and is delivered to the client at the same time the product is delivered.

   

Participants and Their Roles in TI Development

Many people participate at various stages of development. The DRMAP Strategic Plan for Involving Stakeholders outlines the roles and responsibilities as follows:

  • Technical Program Manager. Owns the process and oversees its usage and maintenance

  • Program Office (Client’s administration, technicians, and specialists). Directs product development from corporate office.

  • Configuration Manager. Key figure in the overall development process. Verifies that all documentation matches and supports the process and equipment it describes.

  • Data Management Specialist. Interacts with the Program Office to transmit TIs and other official documentation.

  • Subject Matter Expert. Monitors the technical writing activities

  • Technical Writer.  Assists with all stages of TI development. Follows the DRMAP TI development process.

  • Technical Instruction Document Manager. Oversees viability of documentation in relation to the entire process. The Configuration Manager often takes this role.

  • Equipment Specialist. Oversees the equipment being tested.

  • Equipment Group Engineer. Oversees the equipment testing and reports directly to the Technical Program Manager. The Equipment Specialist often takes this role.

 

Input Providers

Any relevant stakeholder to the DRMAP program can provide pertinent information and materials including:

  • DSMAP Program Office

  • Applicable Line Replacement Unit program offices

  • Any internal member of the DRMAP program

  

Customers

  • Potential external customers

  • Technical Instruction Managers

  • Program Office

  • Program Office Equipment Specialists

  • Line Replacement Unit Engineers

  • Pilots/End Users

      

Potential Internal Customers

  • DSMAP management

  • All DSMAP product developers and process users including the Data Management Specialist and the Configuration Manager

      

Risk Analysis

The DRMAP Risk Management Plan outlines the steps in performing risk analysis during the TI and PD processes. The goals of the plan are to:

  • reduce the likelihood of developing TIs or implementing changes that decrease the quality of the final product for the customer(s), and 

  • keep TI development on budget and on time.

     

Outputs

  • TI Weekly Status Sheet. The technical writer uses these sheets during Weekly updates and delivers them to the Configuration Manager

  • Complete 40% TI

  • Complete 80% TI

  • Complete Confirmation TI and Report from Confirmation Test

  • Complete 90% TI and Report from Final Test

  • Final TI source document

  • Hard copies of the Final TI delivered to Configuration Specialist

 

End of Section

 

… Manual continues with details on the following topics …

Chronological Milestones – First Stages

  • Project Kick-off

  • Bench Test/Discovery

  • Review – First Review and Critical Review

  • Final Bench Test

  • 40% TI Development Process

  • 80% TI Development Process

  • 40%/80% TI Development Process

Chronological Milestone Overview – Middle Stages

  • Confirmation TI

  • Confirmation Test

  • 90% TI

  • Final Test

Chronological Milestone Overview – Final Stages

  • 90% TI – No Test Event

  • Final TI Delivery

  • Process End

  • Post Delivery – Changes After Delivery

Further Process Details

  • Kick-off Meeting

  • 40% TI Development

  • First Review and Critical Review

  • 80% TI Development

  • Confirmation IT and 90% TI Development

  • Confirmation Test and Final Test Events

  • Pre-Final TI – No Test Event

  • Final TI – Delivery

  • Process End

  • Post Delivery – Changes After Delivery

  • Test Forms

  • Travel Considerations for Attending Off-site Testing

  • Reporting Software

 Confirmation TI

 90% TI

 

 Pre-Final TI

 

 Final IT

Confirmation Test

Final Test

 

(no test or review)

 

Product Delivery

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