The greatest explanation I have heard to create a checklist is. Think of it like how you bake a cake, a to-do list is all the ingredients and Checklist is the recipe for the finished product. Just imagine how your cake would turn out if you missed a few ingredients out! Or add them in the wrong order?
Creating Effective checklists
So what makes a good checklist? There are a number of factors you want to have at the forefront of your mind. It must be useful, achieve results,
Learn from past mistakes
This is the most important step looking back at mistakes and errors so you can learn from them. Could errors be occurring from simple things like certain steps being missed? Maybe steps being completed out of order? Identify failure points within your processes and procedures then break them into simple steps.
Consult with Team Members
Team members are an important way to improve your processes and create a checklist that will benefit everyone. Ask people for their ideas on helping identify common causes of failure and any suggestion they can offer. These thoughts and observations can often be a great source of information.
Focus on key tasks often overlooked
Identify key items always forgotten, overlooked or even totally missed as your primary point to cover. Every point on your checklist is like a bullet point to remind people or jog memories but with your standard operating procedure (SOP) available if not quite sure of the steps.
Define specific action
Processes and procedures need to be defined and laid out into simple steps. Imagine these steps as a reminder to trigger events.
There are two ways a checklist can be performed sequential and or
Communication is key part of the process identifying whom people need to talk to, any set time requirements, potential authorisation or sign off required and by whom and any other points of contact that maybe needed.
Test the checklist
Checklists will need continuous refinement as steps are improved and more failure points are identified. Flexibility to build and adapt processes quickly is key and checklists allow you to do this while maintaining consistency.
Never worry about forgetting things again. Check it don't forget it!