Bootstrapping a Checklist Culture

A puzzle: how do you checklists making in an organization?

A solution:

  • Create an Empty Checklists Deposit (searchable!)
  • Optional: Add a “Using Checklists” checklist.
  • Add a “Finding Checklists / Ensuring Absence of Checklists” checklist: you don’t want to create duplicates!
  • Add a “Deduplicating Checklists” checklist: you will still create duplicates; you still don’t want to keep them! You don’t want to break them, either.
  • Add a “Reviewing /Updating Checklists” checklist: you don’t want your checklists to not reflect your current processes or best practices. You don’t want to bork them. You already have some checklists to keep up to date. Deduplicating is a specific case enough that it should be separate from this checklist.
  • Add a “Creating Checklists” checklist: make sure it includes affordances at creation time for updating or reviewing the checklists!
  • Add a “Confirming Checklistability” checklist: you want to keep this around to help you beef out the Checklists Deposit!

Of course, this is artisanal and gradual and probably not the sort of way it gets done in big organizations, where you have the time (budget) and headcount (budget) to get people to sit down for long periods of time understanding everything that happens operationally and SoP-ing it in bulk.

My solution is aimed at businesses with more constraints, like startups, that might grow into the budget needed for a bigger approach.

Having a strong starting point would make that transition less expensive and less traumatic, and the critical points in building and operating a business would get standardized first because they are more salient.

There might be a good bang for the buck relationship there.