Re: Where is best authority on current Mil Standard practice?

Subject: Re: Where is best authority on current Mil Standard practice?
From: Michael Johnson <michaelj -at- OECMED -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 10:18:22 -0700

Greetings to Richard and other mil spec writers who may be lurking.

I moved from the mil spec world about a year ago, and I know what you're going through.

You're right. 38784 is hard to understand. It's primarily a format spec that shows what the manual is supposed to look like.

You need to find out if there's a detail spec called out in the contract that specifies the manual content. If you're lucky, there won't be one.

If possible, get a copy of the contract and see exactly what the deliverables are. You can usually find that info in the DIDs (data item descriptions).

If you company's contracting officer will let you, communicate directly with the government reviewer before the first IPR (in-process review), if possible. If 38784 is the only spec called out in the contract, try to get the customer to send you a manual from another vendor that he (the customer) is happy with.

Active duty military reviewers are easier to deal with than civil service types who know the specs better, but it helps to be a good poker player in either situation. Don't agree to any changes (unless they are needed to correct obvious errors) just to make the reviewer happy. The words "change of scope!" should come frequently to your lips, especially when they start to beat you up.

If you get a reviewer known to be hostile, put on your Dale Carnegie hat and try to defuse the situation before the IPRs start. For me, that worked better than anything.

Good luck!

Mike Johnson
Writer -at- wasatch -dot- com

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