Earlier this year, my buddy Dan recommended that I read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. The recommendation was actually more of a demand. When we had been talking about my need to increase the productivity of my time, he wanted me to drop everything and read this now. Exactly what a busy person needs, something else to do.
Going into reading it, I wasn’t too convinced that it could be too interesting or useful. I gave m buddy the benefit of the doubt, though, and read it anyways. Turns out he was right, this is a book that I really needed to read. Because it validated something I’ve done out of habit for years, but didn’t really know the value of. And that, is writing checklists.
The Checklist Manifesto discusses the value of checklists. The book looks at airline pilots, contractors, and surgeons to detail how and why they use and value checklists. As the world has become more complex, the need for guides through the complexity has grown in need. Checklists aren’t about having a commandment of work effort that needs to be accomplished, instead they help to confirm and verify that the mundane, simple, and possibly overlooked get done. It can help to build a level of communication within a team by bringing the team together to confirm the checklist.
The examples are fairly compelling and they validate something I’ve noticed about myself, but never had a chance to put my finger on. Many of the times that I am most successful and productive also parallel times that I used checklists. Checklists are something I’ve just done in the past and going forward are something I’ll continue to incorporate in the work that I do, now knowing their value.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend reading The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. Whether you are maintaining your servers, developing a database, or recovering from a failure, checklists can and will help you be more effective and better ensure success than going forward without them.