INTRO - DO I NEED CHECKLISTS?
Have you ever had a feeling that your job, work assignments or profession, in general, have become too complex for you? New laws and regulations, new colleagues and tons of documentation can seem overwhelming in one moment, and the question is: What then? We all know the solution to this feeling of disability and anxiety, but only rare ones apply it: Some time is needed to be spent on planning the assignment, project or a day as a whole. By laying our tasks on a paper we relieve ourselves of the feeling that we forgot something, we have a place to check and confirm our suspicions and most importantly we note experience and information which we can share further.
CHECKLIST THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
In year 1935., US army forces hosted a competition between airplane manufacturers to find a new generation bomber. Army planned on ordering 65 bombers from the winner and the stakes where high. Competition's favorite was Boeing's Model 299, bigger and more equipped than the rest of the bombers and therefore nicknamed: "The Flying Fortress". In front of the small audience, made out of military engineers and airplane experts, Model 299 smoothly took off, turned sideways on one wing and crashed in burning explosion.
An investigation determined that the cause of the accident was not mechanical, but a human factor. It turned out that Flying fortress was too large and complicated airplane to be controlled by only one man. Boeing lost a competition, almost went bankrupt, but military forces bought few aircraft's because part of the military air force was convinced it was flyable. Soon, a group of test pilots gathered to contemplate and see what can be done about Model 299's efficiency.
They considered that longer training is not needed because of planes complexity, rather they came up with something which is omnipresent in pilot's everyday work - pilot checklist.
With DO - CONFIRM checklists team embers perform their jobs from memory and experience, often separately. But then they stop. They pause to run checklist and confirm everything was supposed to be done was done. With READ - DO checklist people carry out tasks as they check them off - like a recipe.
Today pilot checklists are present in every aircraft and are being used during flight start, takeoff or other usual procedures. Only a small number of checklists controls daily procedures, while the rest of them offers a solution to every potential problem.
image_Flying fortress checklist
EXAMPLES OF ADOPTION
a. Repetitive assignment - sometimes after n-th adjustment of drawings where the task was to correct dimensions, grids and room tags we fall into trance. After waking up we are met with another round of checking because we forgot few things here and there.
With a simple list of those three tasks in front of us, we can avoid that situation.
b. Daily / weekly plan - good habit is to set daily and weekly tasks we can be always be reminded of them and have a complete overview of the project at any moment in time.
c. Project plan - you are working on a standardized project or maybe some project which is similar to few already finished ones and you feel confident? That is the reason why it is desirable to make a checklist of project tasks, phases and everything that is needed so we can utilize experience and knowledge we have. Afterward, put it on paper and share it.
WHERE TO CHECK CHECKLIST
Trello - contains boards, lists, and tabs which can be edited and customized; you can link outside information and documents
Evernote - notebook with pages; possible to use it as a library of readable documents
Excel -if you can run the bill of quantities here then checklist is a breeze
Pen and paper - no subscription, no malfunctions and fully customizable
THOUGHT TO END WITH
"Under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success. There must always be room for judgment, but judgment aided - and even enhanced - by procedure"
- Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto
The Checklist manifesto, Atul Gawande