Sunday, August 19, 2012

Checklists



The of the simplest and most effective business tools is the humble checklist. The other great thing about checklists is that you can use them just about everywhere. The power of checklists for me really hit home when I used to run up servers for a living. Before I decided to adopt the checklist mentality, I’d always be forgetting something or getting lost on exactly what step in the process I was on.

Enter a simple check list. My server checklist started off pretty basic but over time it grew to be quiet comprehensive. Sure it doesn’t give you a perfect result every time but it makes the chances much better and it provides you with a much more consistent result. The other thing with a good checklist is that you can give it to someone else to follow and they should get the same result.

So many businesses I see make the same mistakes over and over again. They are totally inconsistent with what they are delivering. This doesn’t just apply to small businesses it also applies to big business as well. If you are planning on repeat any process, then that is an opportunity to develop a checklist for it. Sure, it takes a little time up front but the more time you do it the easier it becomes with a checklist.

Chances are that once you have a good checklist you can start automating some of the steps in there to save you time. There are a multitude of technologies that can not only create checklists but also automate them. I am going to point out SharePoint as something that I use regularly for checklists. I also use OneNote extensively for checklists since I can access it on every device that I have, just about anywhere that I am. Another really great free app I use is called Wunderlist which has a really simple interface and allow me to track my to-do list.

If you are repeating processes and not using a checklist then you are doing things the hard way Spend a little time, create a checklist and then use it the next. I guarantee you’ll see the improvement and save time.