- Checklists are used in many fields today.
There are two main types of checklists, roughly called READ-DO checklists or CHECK-CONFIRM
- The first type specifies a procedure, where each item is read and then done in order. Used in planes for emergency situations
- The second type is used to make sure you have not forgotten something, This is the one used in medical rooms. You read the list and check that you have done everything on the list.
Industries like construction rely on one great big checklist. There are so many things to do that without a scaffold to hold everything in place things fail.
There are also checklists for communication. These are used in the industries like construction, where you check the box to make sure the expert has given his seal of approval for their particular chunk of the project.
Checklists shouldn’t contain every item that has to be done, otherwise they become too unwieldy. An unwieldy checklist is a checklist that will not be used, and the entire point of a checklist is that they get used.
Similarly, checklists have to be refined over time. It’s really an iterative process to create a checklist. Trial and error is needed to confirm what needs to be on there and what doesn’t.
The need for checklists arose because our domains and our tasks have become too complicated. We miss things. People have the skills and the knowledge to do the tasks, but they just miss things through forgetfulness or because there is too much going on.
- In data science, how often do you see people do things like forget to normalise? Forget to remove outliers?
- Medicine is rife with this. What was that statistic – something like the checklist caught an error 33% of the time.
One problem with checklists is that tasks are often skipped because they feel trivial. Either that or some steps aren’t relevant to some tasks, leading practitioners to mentally disregard the step every time they do the problem.
Tracking the results of a checklist is necessary to see if it had a positive impact or not.
A good use case for a checklist:to “get the dumb stuff out of the way”