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Showing posts from October, 2010

The Checklist as Empowerment tool

In an earlier post I talked about how many of the ideas in The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right  support for agile values. One of the  observations in the book that caught me by surprise was that checklists help people function as a team by making it easier to distribute decision making and empower individual team members. Checklists also help teams make better decisions by making it easier to distribute decision making. A team of empowered cross functional people, working together to decide how to get work done sounds a lot like the model of an agile team.

Checklists can help by institutionalizing a process where someone other than "the expert" is the center of decisions. In a discussion of a surgical checklist, Gawande discusses that nurses are the best people to own the checklist process but they needed to be able to stop a surgeon who skips a step without risking disciplinary action by a surgeon who feels free to avoid the process. Making the checklist part of…