Why Checklists are a Good Thing?
A Checklist

First things first: Thank you for buying Project Management Checklists.

I know you won't regret it. There is so much content in here and, while there may be something missing, I also offer to continuously update the package with new checklists, as you suggest them. Go to the Suggest a New Checklist module in this section.

So, why are checklists a good thing, then, Mike?

Checklists save lives.


Whenever you get into a commercial airplane, or a military one, for that matter, your pilots are using a checklist to reduce the risk of fatal human error, and to ensure everything on board is as it should be. This started a US Army Air Corp crash during the Second Word War.

Increasingly, emergency room and operating theatre teams are using checklists to improve patient outcomes, by getting everything right, and reducing the threat of mistakes.

But do they do more than save lives. Here is a checklist of what Project Management Checklists can do for you.

Quality-related Benefits

  1. When you have a checklist that has ‘correct’ built in, you will make fewer mistakes.
  2. Checklists provide a reminder of how to do something important.
  3. A pre-written checklist ensures that a sequence of steps is complete, so that nothing ‘falls between the gaps’.
  4. Checklists ensure that you don’t miss a step in a sequence, process, or procedure.
  5. Reproducibility and consistency are valuable in many contexts, and vital in many more. Checklists drive both of these.
  6. Checklists help you achieve excellence, by setting out the steps that deliver it. You can test and tweak the checklist, until you are happy it creates repeatable excellence.

Time and Pace-related Benefits

  1. Checklists speed things up by removing need to re-think a process after each step.
  2. Checklists break big activities into small chunks. This makes them seem easier, reducing the tendency to procrastinate; to put off starting.
  3. Checklists ensure your do the right things in the right order.
  4. There is less need to think 'what next' and therefore introduce delays, with a checklist.
  5. Checklists provide automatic prioritization of tasks within a wider activity.

Cost and Resource-related Benefits

  1. Checklists reduce wasted effort and mistakes, with an obvious cost benefit.
  2. Checklists help you to delegate with confidence, knowing that there is a clear specification of what needs to get done.
  3. You can divide a checklist up, to delegate different parts to different team members.
  4. Checklists ensure uniformity of performance capability across your team.

Additional Benefits

  1. Checklists can provide you with a list of options that therefore expands your choice and increases your chances of selecting well.
  2. Checklists reduce the cognitive load arising from straightforward process sequences. This frees up brainpower for the unique parts of the task, that require decision-making, problem-solving, or creative thinking.
  3. Checklists make it easy to take action. We don’t need to think ‘what’s next’ – we can just act.
  4. Instant progress gives a sense of achievement that is highly motivating.

Complete and Continue