Do you use checklists in your daily work? For instance to check if your software is ready to be delivered to customers? Or when you are finishing a User Story, to check if it is fully “Done”? Or do you hate checklists, and think that they are a waste of time? That they are being misused to bother professionals and aren’t helpful? What’s your experience with checklists?
I like checklists! think that they help you to do your work more efficiently. They do not replace knowledge and experience: My opinion is that a checklist only works when people understand what they are doing, because it only consists of short sentences or a single word. Somebody who is not trained and experienced enough cannot use a checklist, because (s)he wouldn’t know what to check, or how to check it.
Trained people use checklist all the time. I use a checklist when I prepare myself to give a presentation or course, and I keep on adapting it. In CMMI-assessments and audits I use checklists to see which practices people do, and I also use checklists in projects to manage risks, take decisions, and check milestones and toll-gates.
As a trained divemaster, I always do a buddycheck before entering the water to go diving. Better safe then sorry, I enjoy living and I want to live a long and healthy life. Also I’d rather fly with a pilot who uses a checklist before taking off, then with a pilot who’s going through the flight training manuals in the cockpit ;-).
So what’s your experience with checklists? Like them or hate them? Why?
More information about checklists:
- Checklist for Root Cause Analysis
- Verander Manifesto, Vertrouwen en vakmanschap boven afvinken en controleren (Dutch)
- What Drives Quality: Coding, on coding rules and software Craftsmanship