THE POWER OF CHECKLIST – CUTTING DOWN ON ERRORS

Why Checklist

Being in the quality department for a quite long time I am familiar with the checklist and how much effective it would be if checklists are used as it is supposed to be. Or how powerful it becomes, in the course of the project life and sometimes if followed in between in our life too as it would bring some much-needed relief. I will share one of my examples when my idea of implementing practicing a checklist system.

Can a Checklist Be Useful in Daily Life

When I visited a friend who was staying alone in a flat said during a casual chat that, he used to forget many things like switching off lights or fans in some days, or found air conditioner running on some other day, some days the door to the balcony kept remains open (As it was in the top floor, there was no issue for being it open except the entry of pigeons inside the rooms doing shitty things). And to his horror one fine day, he kept something in the gas stove with gas on and forget it before he left. As it was in the flame mood – the only unfortunate thing that happened was, it burned the steel dish over it till the gas finished in the cylinder. He told me that things would be scary if it happens again and needed to do something to prevent the recurrence of such issues.

After curious thoughts, I told him to introduce a checklist system that is to be performed before he leaves the flat every day. I helped him for one with the points to attend before stepping out of the front door and pasted the checklist in the backside of the door. I marked columns against the points to be crosschecked for Monday to Sunday and, every day before opens the door for leaving the office he shall see all the points on the checklist and tick the respective box. Those are like gas is off, lights are off, taps are closed, doors are locked, etc by ensuring once again physically. Later, he said it was very helpful and became a routine and everything was perfect till he stayed as a bachelor there.

How You Plan a Function in Home – Will a Checklist Help Us

In other contexts in our life, checklists also come handy and are useful in between when we need to organize many kinds of stuff for a particular activity. Maybe many might have done indirectly what we called the essence of a checklist in between – in our life – like in situations such as a function, or a family trip, or even attending for an interview.

There are so many things to arrange or organize and many peoples to be invited – say for a marriage. The planning used to start many months in advance and what many people used to do is that they list down the important items to be arranged and the names of all individuals and families to be invited. And once they have done it, they strike it off relieving themselves a relaxed a little bit.

Checklist – Everyone’s Favorite

That is what exactly a checklist will do almost everywhere across the universe be it in airlines, cruise ships, hospitals, manufacturing industries, in flights, and of course in the construction industries, in some places exhaustive one. Strike off the part done from a set of things to do without fail every time which may otherwise lead to disasters if it is in cases like airplanes and surgeries.

The Checklist Manifesto – Most Rated Book on Checklist

For those who would like to learn more about checklists and their importance get a copy of the book The Checklist Manifesto authored by Atul Gawande. He is a surgeon by profession and penned many famous books with a special knack of conveying the matter to readers. The book says that the use of checklists has reduced the chances of avoidable errors to a considerable amount in medical procedures irrespective of the size and standard of clinics, very big with experienced staff and advanced facilities in the US or primitive clinics in poor countries. Read here Malcolm Gladwell’s review of The Checklist Manifesto

checklist

Aviation and medical are the two fields that use the checklist extensively. In flights, it is used while take-off, landing, and during emergencies. A set of guidelines will be displayed in an emergency so that pilots can perform without leaving an item that otherwise may happen if it is not there. And it is easy to imagine how helpful in complicated surgeries.

Checklists are a cognitive net, a mechanism that can help prevent experienced people from making errors due to flawed memory and attention, and ensures team works together.

Checklist For Teamwork

Yes, it works well for a team – a subordinate can always mention to his boss if he leaves a point from a checklist to perform or say a nurse to the doctor – The power of the checklist.

But how much is too much is also a question while preparing a checklist. In the book, Gawande explains in detail that a good checklist is short but not too short. If there are several items, people tend to neglect some. A proper checklist is a selective one that does not have items that are most common in each activity. Like when we plan a checklist for the arrangements of a marriage function no need for food or an auditorium to include in it, is it?

All sorts of people use checklists now a days. The builders use them to make sure that the bit of complicated structures are built on time. Chefs use them to make sure that the dishes are prepared without missing an ingredient, The aircraft industry once plagued by accidents uses them particularly well – not only to make sure that the pilots are take – off safely but also to learn from disasters. Whenever planes crash safety experts quickly incorporates the lessons that have learned into the pilots’ checklist.

Checklist in Construction Industry – A Glimpse

In the construction industry checklists are an ongoing activity and play an important part in reducing errors and mistakes which ultimately saves accidents or incidents and also time and money. Maintaining safety in construction sites is one of the most difficult tasks. And implementation of safety checklists for critical activities where the safety of men at work is at risk cut down the possibilities of untoward incidents/accidents drastically. The safety department also practices risk assessment which is listing down possible chances of risks associated with work before those activities start on the site. This also could be considered as a checklist to avoid future unfortunate happenings on the site.  

The practice of checklists during works saves time and money too effectively. If a work is not done as per the specification or not as per the other approved details (Usually all these items will be part of ITP) the work is rejected, and the contractor needs to rework it again or take corrective action to bring it as per the requirement costing extra time and money.

So to conclude checklists are a powerful tool and practicing them in your professional life and to an extent in real life makes the days simple, effective, and less trouble.

Wikipedia Page For Atul Gawande’s Book – Click Here

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