The idea of a checklist is so simple, so mechanical that many people ignore them as a process, but embrace them when it comes to getting things down – how many of us have our ongoing to-do lists piling up in our notebooks but struggle to articulate how to perform a repeated and repeatable task to a newcomer?
From a manager’s viewpoint, it is easy to assume everyone is doing everything they should and not dropping any balls but balls get dropped as people get busy and stop communicating. One of the best ways to stop this happening is with super clear communication and I like to use the alliteration:
Who Will Do What By When.
Simple to remember and it contains all the information you need to move forward – the task, who it is assigned to and what the deadline is. It’s also a very easy to read book.
HBR also has great handoff list which inspired this post. Never drop another ball again, ever. Well, not really, but we can dream.
- What do you understand the priorities to be?
- What concerns or ideas do you have that have not already been mentioned?
- What are your key next steps, and by when do you plan to accomplish them?
- What do you need from me in order to be successful?
- Are there any key contingencies we should plan for now?
- When will we next check-in on progress/issues?
- Who else needs to know our plans, and how will we communicate them?
UPDATE – nice additional resource, also from HBR.