Checklists! An Underrated Weapon​

Checklists! An Underrated Weapon​

- Farheen Banu

Packed everything, labeled things, arranged transport, ordered food…phew! So many things on mind when you are already dealing with a stressful home relocation situation; a messy home, crazy kids and no place or time to rest. Confusion in doing these things can disrupt your inner-peace and make your stress hormones work against you. So how do you get this situation under control and get through the process smoothly? While there are solutions such as planning weeks ahead, hiring logistics and transport agencies, getting help from relatives, and hiring people, the one small basic thing that you should never ignore is to prepare and maintain a checklist of the Things To-Do.

Checklists come to rescue any cumbersome tasks and allow you to get through the task successfully. Used everywhere, from workplaces, homes, hospitals, schools, and irrespective of its complexity or scenario, checklists have to be prepared and followed.

Why do we need Checklists?

Checklists relieve our mind from the burden of remembering things and keeping a check on everything. Considering that most of us are in the digital space, all you need to worry about is keeping the checklist handy and referring to it at various stages to monitor the progress, as per expectations.

Reasons to prepare checklists

  • Avoiding mistakes and repetitions
  • Tracking the project progress
  • Organizing tasks effectively
  • Improving productivity and quality
  • Maintaining accuracy, completeness and consistency
  • Managing time effectively

When and How to prepare a Checklist?

Prepare a checklist before starting the process and get involved with all the project stakeholders who work with you in the task. To avoid confusion, list all the steps required in the process and it is a best practice to get inputs from all project team members.

Checklists in Technical Writing

A checklist is the simplest form of technical writing used in all types of workplaces and used extensively in Technical Writing across all DDLC stages. Checklists are prepared keeping in mind the company standards, customer specifications, content strategy, document timelines and experience from past projects. TW checklists can be downloaded from technical writing forums and blogs from the internet for reference and customized for your project.

Checklists for Success

A checklist can lead to success in your project in the following ways:

  • It is a foolproof strategy to complete each step in a task in a predetermined logical order without any mistakes.
  • It is a tool for smart task delegation and completion of tasks much before the deadline to avoid last minute rush.
  • For active involvement of team members and transparency in the process.
  • It gives you confidence to serve the customer more than what was promised.
  • Helps to aim for improved performance in future projects.

Software applications that support Checklists creation

Collaboration tools such as JIRA and GitHub, have features to create checklists and shared with all team members. Checklists can be selected and installed as a separate application while signing into JIRA or can be created using Markdown language. There are various JIRA add-ons available on such as To-Do checklist, DoD checklist, Issue checklist, and Smart checklist.

While the To-Do checklist is a simple checklist that you can use to complete all tasks, you will still have to manually mark each task after completion. The DoD and Issue checklists are smart checklists that are automatically marked as and when the requirements are fulfilled or tasks completed. The To-Do checklist is the most appropriate for technical writing.

In GitHub, checklists can be prepared using the checkbox feature and creating a checkbox (using Markdown language) against each item. Various types of checklists can be searched depending on project requirements, customized accordingly, and shared with the team.

Checklists help in identifying strengths, competencies, and inadequacies of the team members and help in formulating measures to increase competency of the team.

Checklists of successful projects are often saved and used in future projects. Checklists are helpful during post-release meetings to discuss what went well, what did not go well, and improve on the mistakes for future projects.

About the Author

Farheen Banu is working as a Technical Writer in Wipro, Hyderabad. She has 8 years’ experience in editing healthcare documentation.  She has a Masters degree in Personnel Management. A perfect daydreamer and a night thinker, her hobbies include reading, writing, drawing, and observing people.

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