Top 6 Best Practices of Creating Checklists
“A project checklist template is a type of informational job aid used to reduce failure by compensating for potential limits of human memory and attention. It helps to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task.” – Checklist, what is it and why use it? http://apepm.co.uk/checklist-what-is-it-and-why-use-it/
As in any industry or any job, mistakes can happen, and things get overlooked.
Lately, we’ve had several experiences where having a checklist along with clear instructions have or would have made the difference.
Yeah, we know… Checklists are a fundamental part of our jobs, but let’s be honest, how often have we made them and then forgotten or overlooked them?
The busier we are, the easier it is to overlook instructions or a step, even for tasks we’ve performed a million times.
Therefore, our desktop publishing team would like to share some examples of best practices in making great checklists. These are based on professional experience and from observation of projects handled using different checklist designs and templates.
1.) Use short, precise, and jargon-free language
Write straight to the point.
Indicating steps in the simplest possible way will save time as well as avoid confusion. Ideas are easily conveyed too.
We are composed of multicultural team at Foliage Solutions. Inevitably, we often confuse each other due to having different native languages.
It also happens that when everyone is under pressure, there’s a tendency to find speaking in a non-native language extra challenging.
So, the team focuses on the use of clear and precise language to overcome this and help us communicate in a more specific and understandable manner.
2.) List tasks in sequence
“Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.” – Thomas Mann
Putting tasks in order makes things predictable. Imagine listing items in a checklist in random order – it would be a mess!
Having them arranged chronologically helps evaluate how well your workflow goes.
3.) Organize tasks by grouping them
The third tip is a continuation of tip no. two.
As you list tasks in an organized series, make sure to sort them by groups too.
The categories vary according to the type of work you want to achieve. Grouping them can depend on how similar the tasks are or simply listing them down following a critical step-by-step procedure.
Grouping tasks gives you a chance to concentrate on a few items at times when you can’t manage to complete the whole checklist due to limited time or, perhaps, an urgent event.
Let us look at it this way, if you create shorter lists out of a long checklist, you can concentrate on accomplishing your work in phases.
4.) Review and update checklists periodically
If you are in a technical industry where you constantly update your resources and tools, then a periodic review and updating of your checklist(s) with the whole team are highly recommended.
If your checklists can’t match your workflow, then they become obsolete and ineffective.
5.) Test your checklist
In able to confirm how well your checklist works, trial and error is the answer.
Involving different colleagues in the testing process means more eyes can give feedback and spot flaws.
Most importantly, having the whole team test the checklist lets everyone stay on the same page.
6.) Make a digital version
The benefits of checklists are limitless, even more so when you can keep them handy.
According to a statistics report by Oberlo, there are 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide as of 2021. – “How Many People Own Smartphones?” https://www.oberlo.com/blog/mobile-usage-statistics
It is almost the entire human population on earth. This data itself explains how smartphones have become a part of our lives.
So why not take advantage of having your checklists in your pockets anywhere, anytime?
We humans, are big fans of complexity.
We tend to focus more on complicated steps, skipping the basics.
“We often find it easier to face a complex problem than a simple one.” – Complexity Bias: Why We Prefer Complicated to Simple https://fs.blog/2018/01/complexity-bias/
We absorb the idea that we can remember the initial steps effortlessly.
However, it often turns out that the opposite is true.
So by creating checklists, we can make a picture of how to finish our projects step-by-step.
Our jobs may sometimes overwhelm us.
Checklists remind us that it doesn’t have to be complicated.
They are life-savers that save our time by getting us rid of performing unsuccessful procedures, which may cause us to do extra jobs.
We can deliver our work with precision if we only pause and concentrate on getting each step done accordingly.