Turning a Checklist into an Improvement Opportunity

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To capture directions on completing a job, a checklist is often used to list all the activities involved. This checklist provides a reference for team members to avoid missing tasks.

Interestingly, the timing for creating a checklist usually comes about when a job gets complex.

Many people might be involved. The sequence of the tasks is important to minimize missteps that cause delays. Or, repeated errors lead to rework.

When creating a checklist, it is an opportune time to review the job for improvement opportunities.

First, revisit the purpose of the job. Who is the customer? What is the ideal outcome? Without clarity on the outcome, it is difficult to gauge whether the right work is done.

Without clarity on the outcome, it is difficult to gauge whether the right work is done. Click To Tweet

Second, review the tasks and ask whether all the tasks serves a purpose. What value does each task deliver? Those that don’t serve a purpose or deliver value are prime candidates for elimination.

Third, consider the timing of the tasks. Sequential tasks take longer because a potential bottleneck would hold up the entire workflow. Seek ways to do tasks concurrently and shorten the overall cycle time.

Fourth, look at the people involved. Every handoff point tends to add to the elapse time because the person picking up the work needs to review what has been done before starting with what she needs to do next. Minimize handoffs and shorten the overall cycle time.

If you consider these questions as you build the checklist, you might uncover many odd tasks that usurp valuable resources. They are opportunities for improvement.

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