Metro Trains Melbourne have just announced their new Summer Timetable. This means that we finished compiling, editing and checking the timetables a few weeks ago – and then fell into an exhausted heap.
This job was a test of nerve – stick to the process or buckle under time pressures and rush things through? We stuck to our processes, modifying the standard operating procedure (yes, we do have them!) for the changed format of data supplied and whipping out our checklists when the proofs came in.
The only way to ensure that complicated projects likes these don’t go off the rails (pun intended) is to have robust processes and stick to them. It is human nature to want to cut corners when the pressure is on but the problems that would ensue if there were avoidable mistakes in the timetable aren’t worth the headaches – even if those headaches are borne by other people.
Why do I keep banging on about checklists? Because they work.
Regular readers would know by now that I love checklists and this sort of project is the proof of their value. Read The Checklist Manifesto and become a convert – or brush up your enthusiasm for lists and processes over xmas.
Why do I keep banging on about checklists? Because they work, because they save our… bacon, because they save us money and because they free up the mind to think about thing other than that a boring list of stuff.