The Checklist Manifesto Cover
The Cover of The Checklist Manifesto

Over the summer of 2022, I read a powerful book which I found to be very persuasive as a way to better ensure two goals:

a) make sure that everything gets done; and

b) make sure that everything is done to a high standard.

That book is The Checklist Manifesto. It’s the story of how checklists reduce errors, reduce oversights, and improve performance across many different fields of human endeavour. The author writes about areas as diverse as flying a plane, surgery, and building big buildings. In each case, there’s a very persuasive argument that creating checklists are really important for reducing errors and improving performance.

In many cases, a checklist is used to ensure that specific tasks are completed, and to also ensure that relevant stakeholders have been consulted. Sometimes, we need to ensure that every piece of work is completed. Sometimes, we need to ensure that everyone is properly consulted. Checklists can help to achieve both goals.

Not only do I think that many teams would benefit from introducing such checklists in their immediate work in the short-term, but I suspect that many teams would benefit from such checklists to build and retain more institutional knowledge in the long-term too.