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The Checklist.


Checklists are a wonderful thing. Atul Gawande wrote an entire book about them: The Checklist Manifesto. Humans are fallible and will make mistakes, especially in complex systems where mistakes can mean lethal consequences. But careful planning (with a checklist) guards against "the stupid stuff".

My favorite checklist story is that of Van Halen's concert checklist; specifically the brown M&Ms. Van Halen's effects and equipment-intensive shows could cause major damage at injury at an ill-prepared venue, and the brown M&Ms signaled that the band's set-up specifications had not be followed thoroughly. If the brown M&Ms were there, what else in the contract had been missed? Can the ceiling girders or stage floor support the weight of the equipment?


Tags: project-management

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