The importance of Checklists

On the latest In the Trenches, Kevin was talking about using checklists, especially when working on a number of machines at once. This weekend was a perfect example of another good reason to have checklists. We were rolling out software upgrades by rolling out a new desktop image to about 120 desktops. This, unfortunately, required us to go around to each machine, run some scripts, run the build, reboot, run some more scripts, reboot, configure the software, etc. We each took around 11-12 machines, were given the checklist for those machines and went on our way.

It was great to be able to leave the checklist with the machine as you bounced from machine to machine starting the build, coming back to finish, etc. It was even better, when I was able to get my allotment of machines done early and went to help out some folks who ran into problems and got delayed, to be able to sit down at a machine they had been working on and know exactly where they were in the process.

I have to give credit to the folks running this project, that was a great idea!

Tags: Checklists, Upgrades

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  1. Oh, yes, yes, yes and…yes.

    Checklists have saved my bacon…and my butt over the last 20 years of doing tech work. People would sometimes look at me funny when I would suggest a checklist or make one up for my own purposes.

    They were especially important when I was setting up 5-10 new PCs at once and we wanted them all the same.

    Checklists! Simple tool that can really make your life easier.

  2. I’d second this. It is surprising how many different ways checklists can be used — packing lists for travel, how to set up a new blog template, or the “just got home” checklist of things to do after work.

    If you keep all this stuff in your head, mistakes will be made. Having checklists for doing the computers was a way-cool idea.

    And simple too, right?

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