Checklists can save you — stress!

IRT Essentials

Everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of being human. We’re not automatons who simply complete tasks day in and day out. If only life were that simple. It seems there are always small “tweaks” to any process involving information management and processing. The question is, how do we minimize errors and remove stress from our lives?

One answer, simple though it seems, is to create checklists -- quick, focused lists of reminders. Most of us already have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for each of our processes. Yet few staff find it convenient to re-review an SOP during the execution of a task -- not only have they already been trained in that task, but many SOPs are complex documents with more (or less!) information than they need.

A checklist is a document that can be kept close to hand, in a file around our workspace, as a shorthand reminder of the nitty-gritty steps of a process – how to update a header in a change order, how to make an update in the issue tracking system, or all of the steps required to prepare for an audit.

Realizing the need for and benefits of taking the time to create checklists – and getting buy-in from project teams – can sometimes be difficult.   To get started, take a look at Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto.

Gawande takes readers through some of the historical uses of checklists – for example, the pre-flight checklist used by pilots to achieve safety, the checklists that builders use to keep skyscrapers on schedule, and checklists used by doctors to reduce the rate of post-surgical infections.  Gawande’s book provides the tools to help teams improve performance and reduce errors – and who can argue with that?

If you’re interested in how Veracity Logic has implemented checklists to improve our processes, or if you’d like to share a story of your own use of checklists, drop us a note on the Contact Us page and we’ll follow up. (And we promise you won’t be added to a mailing list!)

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