The Checklist Manifesto

Reading this book had been on my list for a while, partly because it got a good deal of attention from USA Today, NPR and many other places, and partly because I went to high school with the author, Atul Gawande. It deals specifically with how checklists can improve the quality of medical care, but it applies to any complex process. You would think that once something becomes too complex, a checklist might become too inflexible and limited to be useful. Atul shows that it’s precisely these complex services, which are increasingly difficult to deliver consistently and correctly using human memory alone, that can get the most benefit from a good checklist. In fact, the practice of making life-saving checklists got its start because the B-17 aircraft “was too complicated to be left to the memory of any one person, however expert”.

But there are good checklists and there are not-really-useful-at-all checklists.

Good checklists:

  • Are precise

  • Make priorities clearer

  • Prompt people to function better as a team

  • Turn people’s brains on, rather than trying to think for them

  • Are easy to use even in the most difficult situations

The process of designing and building a new home or home renovation is very complex and goes best when the homeowner, architect, contractor, and all of the trades work together as a team- a great situation for a good checklist. So 2014 is the year New Leaf gets intentional about creating and using good checklists!

Do you have any resolutions for your house this year? Whether you are interested in a small renovation or a whole new house, I’ll be glad to help you create a good checklist (and some great drawings and 3D CAD images) to turn your dreams into reality!   Give me a call at (330)329-6901, or email me at