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, than 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:
This Post Has 8 Comments
Hi Ben, I love to use checklists. As DoD, or as more strategic tool. One of my favorite is the checklist that supports the business case for Test Automation: see http://djdegrood.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/test-automation-day-should-we-do-ta/
Thanks Derk-Jan for sharing your checklist. Making good decisons on test automation is important, I think that the checklist can be useful for experienced test managers.
A comment that I received through LinkedIn from Benno de Jong, suggesting an interesting book:
“Hi Ben, I like checklists as Quality Management Systems are getting more complex. I recommend you to read The Checklist Manifesto by Dr Atul Gawande. Excellent book about benefits of using checklists in different industries.”
I live check-lists. Cannot imagine living without them. I have loved the check-list Manifesto book whose theme is about check-lists in the med world.
Patrick, do you have more info about the checklist manifesto book?
I like checklists I or the team created, I think they work well.
I don’t like checklists created by others to enforce policies. They don’t work that well.
Makes perfect sense. When you create a checklist, it’s your own tool, something that helps you to do things your way.
Enforcing anything, with a checklist or by any other means, isn’t effective.