Writing checklists for data processing troubleshooting

I’m getting back into technical documentation at my job – in fact, I just had my work goals for the new year* approved –

  1. Rework the SharePoint documentation site (that I originally created)
  2. Collect existing documentation and write new documentation for one particular large customer
  3. Create e-learning User Guide to teach co-workers how to use the SharePoint site
  4. … (goals 4-6 are team goals that were assigned to everyone in my department)


For goal # 2, I’m looking into creating checklists that anyone in my department can use to fix problems with the particular large customer.

I’ve read Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto – in fact, I got the audiobook version back when the book came out.

The major problem with Gawande’s book is that it’s long on WHY you should create and use checklists, but kind of skimpy on HOW to create them.

I’m going to review what material Gawande’s book has on creating checklists, but I’ve also started looking online for other resources, as well as adapting available materials for my particular situation here.

One of the first things I found was Project Check, which looks like it was set up about the same time that Gawande’s book came out and focuses on surgical and medical checklists. It also includes a Checklist for Checklists, a 3-column checklist designed by Gawande and Dan Boorman (the Boeing expert that Gawande worked with for the Checklist Manifesto). This checklist is available as a PDF download.

Other links:

Finally, something I think I’ll find VERY useful as I create checklists that I can store in SharePoint for my co-workers to use: (how to create a) checklist in Microsoft Excel, including conditional formatting to make the Go/No-Go result more obvious.


* yes, the new year started 3 months ago, but our goals have been finalized as of March 31.

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