Checklist Manifesto

January 24, 2019
Reading Time: about 1 minute


In modern times, we have learned so much about fields that it is difficult, if not impossible for a single person to have sufficient simultaneous depth and breadth across a conventional field. As such, we must further subdivide to allow more specific specializations. Checklists are a proven, successful way to coordinate between these various subfields.

Inspiration for Checklists

Checklists are used in aviation and construction – two fields where immense detail and coordination is required.

Using Checklists to Battle Complexity

Two checklists are used in construction: One for a list of necessary steps to be completed, and another for important communication/sync-ups to occur. This allows us to leverage individual skill sets.

Checklists should be short (<1 or 2 minutes to complete), with as few items as possible. There are two types: read-do, and do-verify.

Team Efforts

People work better in teams when there is no power dynamic. Power dynamics are greatly diminished when everyone knows everyone else’s names.

On Medicine

Hospitals can greatly improve their efficiency and survival/treatment rates by implementing suggested checklists, although there is a strong aversion to them in general.