We read Fast Company a lot over here at Border7. There was an article that really caught our eye discussing the value of checklists. Here at Border7 we use checklists a lot. We break down all our projects into small tasks that are check boxes. When the task is complete, you check the box – easy sense of accomplishment. This works wonders, when the checklist is actually used.
The reason why the article caught our attention is that our list of checklists has grown exponentially. After reviewing a few items on the list, it came to my attention that a lot of the items were already completed. I asked myself, “why aren’t these checked?” The problem with checklists is they take some getting used to. Personally, I’m a checklist person. I like having things broken down into pieces that I can measure. I always feel happy when I am able to check something off. Unfortunately, Ken, is more of a creative guy who does what he’s in the mood for, generally forgetting to refer to the checklist, while still getting it completed.
The article did an excellent job of arguing both of our sides to the checklist issue. Ken argues that the checklists are long and autonomous, making him feel that his job is really simple and not any fun. I, on the other hand, find that the checklist ensures that we don’t miss any important steps along the way of project completion.
The compromise: I don’t break projects down into tasks anymore. I let him do what is necessary to get it completed. However, we have a universal to-do list (browser compatibility check, web compliance check, check for typos, etc ) that his team has to complete before I sign off on any project. And although the checklist battle has ended in stalemate, I think that both sides will be happy with the outcome.