Boat Notes

Noah's Ark Photo Credit: Bert Knottenbeld onf Flckr.com From:    Dan, Technical Documents

To:          Noah, Project Management

RE:          Manufacturing Document #6.14

Hi Noah,

This project was just passed on to me after the previous writer was reassigned. I’m working from your preliminary notes, plus some comments that were added by the documentation team, so forgive me if you’ve already been over this before.

I understand that the target audience is yourself and a crew of six relatives. I guess Engineering is still hiring on the “friends and family plan,” ha-ha.

There was apparently some discussion among the team over what you meant by “gopher wood,” which can apparently be cypress, cedar, or boxwood. As you know, our SOP requires that all Manufacturing Documents refer to part numbers, so the wood needs a part number and a spec. But if the spec allows all three species of wood, QA is going to come down hard on us about validation. Do you really want to run the same IQ/OQ/PQ three times in a row?

Then there’s the “pitch,” and here again we’re going to have QA to deal with. I understand from Purchasing that pitch can be obtained from petroleum, coal tar, or plant resin. You can see where I’m going with this: If you have three possible types of wood and three possible types of pitch, that means nine validations of the manufacturing process. Not pretty. Also, with pitch, we’re going to have to include the MSDS in the spec, or rather all three MSDSs.

Now, about the cubits. We need to have a consistent UOM or there is not going to be a single 90° angle in this product. We could use your elbow to fingertip, but I don’t want MD 6.14 to have you running all around the boat, holding your arm down so the manufacturing crew can check their measurements. Someone suggested that we cast a mold of your arm, but I’ll need to spec out the molding process, the material used in the mold, etc. Chares (“Charlie”) Lindos over in Metallurgy has suggested bronze, which is durable enough, I suppose. Better than just cutting off your arm and tossing it around as needed, ha-ha.

I’ve read some odd notes about the three decks. One set of notes says that you would have people and clean animals on the middle deck, unclean animals (is there any other kind?) on the top deck, and on the bottom you’d have, as they say, the poop deck. Does this mean the bottom deck has to be slatted? If so, we’ll need to put some warnings in the MD about working on a slatted deck. I can pull up the relevant OSHA regs, if you want.

I’d like to put a few diagrams in the MD showing how to distribute the manufacturing crew around the boat once it starts really taking shape. Otherwise, you’re going to be constantly schlepping ladders and buckets back and forth. And if you’re on deck, who’s going to pitch?

Finally, I see in the comments that the client wants to review a draft in Word. Sorry, we don’t roll that way. MD 6.14 will be drafted in FrameMaker like all the other docs and sent to the client as a PDF for commenting. We’ll implement the client’s changes, or at least the ones we agree with, in the next draft.

By the way, who is the client?

Kind regards,

Dan

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein was born and raised in Ithaca, New York, known to its denizens as “ten square miles surrounded by reality.” In tenth grade, Sylvia Mintz taught him everything he knows about writing. Years later (thirtieth grade, approximately), Neil Churgin taught him everything he knows about technical writing. Since 2002, Dan has specialized in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance for medical devices, which is actually a lot of fun.

Read more articles from Dan Goldstein