Book Cover


This week we conclude our re-read of The Checklist Manifesto with a few final thoughts and notes and a restatement of a checklist for a checklist that Stephen Adams contributed in the comments for Chapter 9 – they deserve more exposure.  A few of the key takeaways are:

  1. Complexity is often attacked through compartmentalization and specialization which makes communication and coordination difficult.
  2. Checklists are a tool help people remember and break through biases.
  3. Checklists can be simple or complex depending on the context of the problem they are trying to solve.
  4. Checklists provide value by focusing on making sure the right people and support are assembled.
  5. Checklists help to make sure people communicate.
  6. Success, at least consistent success, is not an accident.
  7. Checklists act as forcing functions. Forcing functions navigate users into a situation where they take action only after consciously considering information.
  8. Successful interventions have three essential requirements: simple, measurable, and transmissible (capable of passing between people).
  9. Checklists allow us to turn information into a simple usable form.
  10. Do-check checklists have less overhead than other types of checklists.

Reviewing the re-read will suggest numerous additions to this short list.  For example, Stephen Adams created a checklist for creating checklists based on his read of the book.  Version 1:

  1. Purpose – why is the checklist needed and how is it expected to help?
  2. Design – will this be a Read-Do checklist, a Do-Confirm checklist or a hybrid?
  3. Keep the checklist short, usable, and meaningful – that means some key items of the process will NOT make it onto the checklist. That is okay, you want the checklist to be used!
  4. Test the checklist and refine it until you think it is ready for other teams.
  5. Let other teams test it and refine it for their situation; your original checklist is good a starting point only. Otherwise, adoption from other teams approaches zero.
  6. Use the checklist. Even if you think the checklist is not needed (Please, I have this covered!) – try it and measure the results. You will be surprised. Good checklists spark conversations that catch potential mistakes.
  7. Review and refine the checklist over time – things change.

This is an excellent book that is very useful for anyone involved in worrying about whether work is done consistently,  My punchline, “try using a checklist because they make sure our actions matter.” I hope you enjoy the book as much as I do.  

Next week we will lay out the plan for our read of Bad Blood (buy your copy today  and support the blog and the author).  Bad Blood is a new book for me, therefore a “read” rather than a re-read.

All of the previous entries for our re-read of the Checklist Manifesto.  

Week 10 – The Save

Week 9 – The Hero In The Age of Checklists

Week 8 – The Fix –

Week 7 – The Checklist Factory

Week 6 – The First Try

Week 5 – The Idea

Week 4 – The End Of The Master Builder

Week 3 – The Checklist

Week 2 – The Problem With Extreme Complexity

Week 1 – Approach and Introduction