Why You Need Checklists for Everything


“OK, I need to copy these files over here. Then I have to rename these other files to. . . oh, I can’t remember. Here it is on this scrap of paper. I knew I had it somewhere.”

I was a twenty-two year old architectural intern with a freshly minted B.Arch degree.

“OK, once that’s done I have to. . . um, do something else. . . Oh right, I need to write up a transmittal and print a PDF. Now where’s that transmittal template?”

This was my first job in an architect’s office. I’d been in the office six months and was working on a medical renovation project.

“I really need to get organized. Last time I did this I forgot to include the sheet list. That was embarrassing.”

I was fortunate to have a patient project manager who gave me extra responsibility and, more importantly, the time to learn from my mistakes.

“You know Michael, you really need a checklist for this”, he said.

I looked at him like he had three heads.

“A checklist? I’m an architect, not a pilot. A…

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