1 posts categorized "Checklists"

03/30/2011

Checklists: A Great Project Tool

IStock_000005289430XSmall Sometimes an organization needs sophisticated project management software because there is just too much information to manage in spreadsheets.  You need the Gantt charts, collaboration, reporting, and such.  Sometimes the simpler solution is the best solution.  Checklists are just such as solution.  Whether they are done with spreadsheets, within your project management software system, on paper, or on a whiteboard, checklists are a great tool incorporate into your organization.

I read a blog post by Craig Brown at Better Projects on the benefits of checklists.  He made three points as to the benefits of using checklists:

  1. They help us be complete and avoid mistakes of omission.
  2. Filling in a checklist, or verbally going through it with a colleague, elevates quality.
  3. The act of creating a checklist causes you to research and learn from peers in your industry.

I agree with his points.  Human error is inevitable and checklists (especially done with a colleague for a check and balance) help to detect errors and mistakes.  I would add that checklists are a great way of incorporating process into your organization.  In other words, set the expectation that people will use checklists to perform a task and make sure the checklist follows your pre-described process.

A checklist can be incorporated as a form in a good project management software system.  The value of that is for tracking.  It is hard to track down a paper checklist to see if it was completed or not and by whom.  An online checklist incorporates that type of tracking which can be valuable.  But it does not have to be.  Any type of properly created and managed checklist can be a great project tool for your organization.

Pick a process that routinely produces errors and mistakes, create a checklist with the right process steps, and pilot it.  Make adjustments and roll it out.  Then continuously evaluate the execution and content of the checklist for continuous improvement.

 






 

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