Certainty Blog

A checklist for checklists? ….why not?

A checklist for checklists
Management Solution – Maritime, Oil, Gas Renewable Energy, Agriculture, Mining & Aggregates

We’ve previously blogged about Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto which is a great help for the medical sector. We suggest you make familiarize yourself with it, but here is a great ‘ a checklist for checklists’ that’ll help you get started in whichever industry you’re in. Just use this as a clear, simple, and general guide to get yourself started.


Do you have clear, concise objectives for your checklist? – Is each item:

• A critical safety step and in great danger of being missed?
• Not adequately checked by other mechanisms?
• Actionable, with a specific response required for each item?
• Designed to be read aloud as a verbal check?
• One that can be affected by the use of a checklist?

Have you considered:

• Adding items that will improve communication among team members?
• Involving all members of the team in the checklist creation process?


Does the Checklist:

• Utilise natural breaks in the workflow (pause points)?
• Use simple sentence structure and basic language?
• Have a title that reflects its objectives?
• Have a simple, uncluttered, and logical format?
• Fit on one page?
• Minimise the use of color?

Is the font:

• Sans serif?
• Upper and lower case text?
• Large enough to be read easily?
• Dark on a light background?
Are there fewer than 10 items per pause point?
Is the date of creation (or revision) clearly marked?


Have you:

• Trialled the checklist with front-line users (either in a real or simulated situation)?
• Modified the checklist in response to repeated trials?

Does the checklist:

• Fit the flow of work?
• Detect errors at a time when they can still be corrected?
Can the checklist be completed in a reasonably brief period?
Have you made plans for future review and revision of the checklist?