Checklists – A Key tool for a Great Delivery Process

Today’s business environment demands speed and perfection every time we deliver a product to the market. To accomplish this we need to multi process and still maintain excellent quality. We find ourselves managing many projects all in different phases with different requirements and tight timelines. Consistency in doing all the right things every time is the key to meeting the dual requirements of speed and perfection.

Checklist for Jira is my favorite tool to make sure we do all the right things every time. It provides timely reminders of each item required for a project to move to the next status in the delivery process. Here is what it can provide:

  • Basic checklist function to make it simple to get started
  • Customized checklist functions to allow flexibility and take you to the next step toward perfection
  • Ability to use workflow automation to verify, modify and update checklists as you progress thru your workflow.
  • Great reporting and tracking so you will have all the information you believe is important to you.

Checklists should be used throughout the development process to keep things moving rapidly and smoothly. For example, our Email Development team for a major client relies on Checklists for Jira and their delivery rate for error free email campaigns of 98%+ is over 20 points above the industry norm. Each development phase/transition requires the completion/review/validation of 5-15 custom Checklist items that vary by type of work and phase. To accomplish this here are the things we do in Checklists:

We configure base checklists for each phase of the delivery process for the primary type of work. Items on the base checklists are required globally for that type of work though we make N/A a valid option for some items. The workflow validates that all items are checked before allowing a transition to the next status. So a developer is always reminded of the items required for the current work item and doesn’t waste time wondering did I do ‘X’ for this work or was that another campaign. To further improve our checklists we use workflow functions to modify checklists by adding, removing, modifying or making items optional or mandatory based on type of work and delivery phase.

Get Your Team Started

If your team is like most and has many individual items to do or verify for the development of a deliverable I strongly recommend looking into using Checklists for Jira. Start with one team and keep it simple:

  • Define metrics and start tracking and reporting of so the team can see how they are doing and improving.
  • Start with 1 or 2 simple checklists at critical points in your development cycle.
  • Make sure to review proper usage of Checklists to assure they will provide the results you desire because checking off the entire list in under 5 seconds will not assure every step is executed.
    • Use checklists as a work progress indicator for all to see.
    • Do not check items off the list prior to completion.
    • Do not wait until the end of development to check off all items.
  • Keep a checklist as short as possible, critical items only. Too many items on a list and it becomes ineffective.
  • Review usage and results with upstream and downstream stake holders as well as the team completing the Checklist. To define any desired changes / additions.

Expanding and Improvement

Now that you have one team on the path to a great delivery process other teams will see your improvement and inquire about using checklists. Add new teams and checklists slowly. Keep it simple. A checklist must add value – remember there is a thin line between a helpful process and bureaucracy.

To continuously improve our checklists/processes we perform an incident review when an error does get into production. We review all checklist items by time, date and person who made the change to determine if the cause was a missed checklist item. We then define any new or updated checklist items that may help avoid repeating the error. For example an item that is rarely requested was not a required item on the checklist. A campaign requiring this option was deployed without this option included to ensure it would not happen again, we made the item a required option but made N/A a valid selection. Now developers need to think about it for every campaign, if only long enough to mark it N/A and it has not been missed since.

So what’s the pay back?

After seeing our success rate of 98%+ another division of the same client with a success rate of 76% (around industry norm) asked us to take on their email campaign business and we signed a $5 M contract for their business. That goes a long way to proving that making processes more AutoMagic is well worth it. So get on the path to a great delivery process with Checklists for Jira because we all need a little more AutoMagic in our lives.

Checklist for Jira can be found on the Atlassian Marketplace, and is available for Cloud, Server, and Data Center.

Want some help getting started? Let us show you how!