Five Steps to Excellent Checklists

Checklists are useful for checking that you don’t miss anything in a repeated extended process. This can be anything from maintenance windows to database installations. It is not necessary that it must be an enterprise-wide checklist; checklists are useful for us as administrators as well.

To create an excellent checklist, follow these steps:

  • Create a suitable title for each major step or category. When all the checklist items are done, then this category (or step) will be completed.
  • Separate each section from the next with whitespace. This keeps items clear and separated so they won’t mix in your mind when you read them.
  • Create a bar of some sort to highlight the title. This will further separate the various sections, and will make the title stand out.
  • Create a list of all actions to perform. These are actual steps – actions to do – and not nebulous unspecified things to get done.
  • Test the checklist. If this checklist will be used repeatedly, then try it out. Take notes as you use it. Since the checklist is best used on paper, use a paper version to take notes on and transfer the results to the actual list later.

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