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What is a checklist and what are the advantages of using one?

What is a checklist and what are the advantages of using one?

A well-designed checklist provides a quick and easy way to assess process compliance or project status. Get to know this tool better!

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What is a checklist?

A checklist is a list of actions, with the possibility of marking their completion (“ticking off”). A checklist is a simple way to carry out even complex processes efficiently. The checklist helps to maintain the proper sequence of tasks performed. It also enables comparison of the existing state with the model state. How? On the checklist you place options to mark the degree of compliance.

Checklists reached the peak of their popularity in the 1960s. However, their simplicity and at the same time effectiveness made them still used today in various projects.

Advantages of checklists

The advantage of the checklist is the simplicity mentioned earlier. Creating the list is not very time consuming and the way to complete it is intuitive. As a result, the checklist is used by both direct production employees and senior managers.

A checklist is also a good method to improve communication processes in an organization. It is especially often used during teamwork.

Thanks to checklists, it is easy to link the successive stages of a given process or project. This minimizes the risk of overlooking important information. Additionally, a pre-prepared task list allows you to systematize the order of activities and has a disciplinary effect.

Preparing a checklist.

Creating a checklist

The effectiveness of a checklist depends on various factors. One of them is the complexity of the list made – the number of questions, the formulation of questions and answers. Depending on the purpose for which the checklist is used – the questions should have an appropriate degree of detail. In addition, the questions should be formulated in a clear and unambiguous manner. A well prepared checklist allows you to make an assessment and find out the cause of potential problems that slow down the implementation of tasks.

When to prepare the checklist? It is recommended that the checklist sheet should be developed during the planning stage – that is, during the initial phase of the project. Why? Because the list prepared at that time will be used at later stages of the project – that is during its implementation and later monitoring. During the project you can of course support auxiliary checklists. However, the main list checking if the project is heading in the right direction and if there are no deviations from the initial project assumptions should be prepared earlier.

The use of checklists

A checklist is a widely used tool. This tool is used:

  • In the aviation industry (for example, when analyzing the causes of aircraft accidents),
  • In the financial industry (facilitates decision making for investors),
  • In medicine (examination of patients’ health condition),
  • In management systems (testing compliance with ISO requirements),
  • In everyday life! Every one of us has used a checklist at some point – for example, when going out shopping with a pre-prepared list.

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