Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Checklist Manifesto + Risk




As a small risk team we used to joke around about having to put everything into checklists. We didn’t want colleagues to think that we were mocking them and imply they were ‘unable’ to follow simple processes and procedures.  

When I picked up Atul Gawande’s best seller ‘The Checklist Manifesto’, (a must read) every page had me glued, and frantically nodding my head in agreement. 

This simple strategy enabled me to see first-hand how;

  • Effectively and confidently management would sign off and complete construction documentation agreements

  •  The confidence that all risks were covered, important sections were correctly filled, attached, made legally binding and adhered to.

The Checklist story + Risk + Construction Agreements

Picture this:  Construction agreements drafted, work on property takes place, 6 months later something goes wrong. 

*Let’s say the there is an injury. Let’s also say the work is going to take much longer. The third party forgot Insurance, and just for fun decided to amend sections to the agreement on their ‘own terms’ and ok, last point honest, all parties forgot to sign.
So, does this make it valid? , what do we do now to ensure this doesn’t happen again?

Enter Risk Management and the Checklist 

In a time of crisis who else to turn to than the Risk team (alias to the modern day ‘ghost busters’)


  • Bringing out the key elements within the construction agreement in particular to CCDC2 2008(a Canadian construction document  was vital

  • An easy one page document in which all areas trending above including legal formalities were addressed
  • Simple , yes/no concept

I managed to tweak it to the perfect place. 

Born The Checklist Manifesto within this risk process

* By all means, I am no way implying this is exactly what happened (in terms of injury claims etc) but merely sharing my experience that the completion of such intense  agreements , at the best of times were overlooked by sheer volume of complexity and not knowing how/what to look for.
 Introducing an effective yet simple documentation such as a checklist can give confidence to a professional in a highly complex and fast paced environment and this was essentially true to what I had been involved in implementing.

You can click here for more information on the Checklist Manifesto + Examples of checklists to inspire you.

RISKercizing until the next time.