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35 CHAPTER 4 DEVELOPING AND VALIDATING PRACTICES OVERVIEW completing each practice section (i.e., defining the practice objective, listing special tools and safety precautions, includ- Building on the essential preparation material in Chapters ing a time standard, etc.). There are also links to those areas 13, this chapter offers instructions for developing the actual of the Guidebook that offer instructions for writing clearly, maintenance practice. The chapter begins by describing the inserting pictures, and locating reference material from MS Word template, an electronic version of the practice for- OEMs and other sources. For those not using the MS Word mat that you can download from the Web Board (see Chap- template, go to the table of contents of the Guidebook to ter 2, Part 2, for instructions) to facilitate the practice-writing manually reference the needed sections. process. The chapter continues by reviewing the effort A hard copy of the template instructions is included as needed to develop practices and offers suggestions for using Appendix B; the template is included as Appendix C. The agency staff and/or contracted resources to get the practices electronic version of both documents can be downloaded developed. The core of the chapter, and the Guidebook itself, from the TRB Maintenance Practices Web Board described consists of the step-by-step instructions and format for piec- in Chapter 2, Part 2. ing together all of the essential elements needed to construct a completed practice. Like all guidance presented here, use of this format is completely voluntary. Use of the suggested Effort Required format, however, makes certain that all of the essential mate- rial needed for a practice gets considered. Once a practice is Developing maintenance practices requires time, developed, the chapter goes on to explain how it can be val- resources, and work. Depending on the approach taken, the idated and updated to ensure its appropriateness over time. work involves researching OEM manuals, other agency As described earlier, you can use one of three approaches practices, historical data from your own operation, and other to prepare yourself for writing practices. The recommended reference materials. The collected material needs to be syn- approach is to read all of the background material provided thesized, a practice format has to be established, and some- in Chapters 13 first, then use the instructions provided in one has to write the practice. Once developed, practices need this chapter to write the practice. A second approach is to to be validated to guarantee acceptance by the workforce. start writing the practice using the format contained in this While this Guidebook will certainly lessen the burden, there chapter and refer back to specific chapters as needed. A third is a substantial amount of work required. and "fast-track" approach is to download one of the sample practices found in Chapter 6 or an existing agency practice Who Develops the Practice? from the Web Board as described in Chapter 2, Part 2, as a foundation for your own practice, and apply other relevant Agencies, Consultants, or Both Guidebook material to suit your specific needs and operation. Agencies can do the work themselves by applying the guidance offered here, contract practices out to a consul- DEVELOPING PRACTICES tant, or work together with a consultant.7 There are advan- MS Word Template tages and disadvantages associated with each method. Hiring a consultant relieves the agency of staff time, but An MS Word template, which mimics the hard-copy for- workers may not accept the practices because they were mat presented in this chapter, is available electronically to created by someone perceived to be an outsider. Agencies facilitate writing the practice. In addition to standardizing could use this Guidebook to develop their own practices, font style and size, margins, and page layout, the template also allows you to compose a practice entirely on your com- 7 Snyder, R.A., "Solving Maintenance Problems by Using Maintenance Procedures," puter screen. The electronic template has links that will take Paper presented at the APTA Bus Equipment Workshop, Indianapolis, IN, November, you to specific areas of the Guidebook for assistance on 2003.