I sat on a plane recently ready to take off to visit one of our clients for two days of process improvement.  As I marveled at our ability to fly from one side of the country to the other, the thought crossed my mind about how these airline pilots ensure that everything is ready to go.

I was reminded of a story early in aviation history where Boeing developed the 299 plane which later went on to become the B-17 bomber. During the trial evaluations of the plane, tragedy struck because the elevator lock wasn’t released. Boeing went from a sure lock in for a contract of over a hundred planes to people saying that the plane was too complicated for one person to fly.

Did Boeing create too complex of a plane? A team of pilots got together to determine if there was a way to ensure nothing would be missed. Out of that meeting the checklist was born. The plane later went on to fly 1.8 million miles without serious accident and the army eventually ordered 12,731 planes.

Today checklists are the staple of airlines and many other industries. Law firms are also taking advantage of checklists to help them ensure that every detail is taken care of for their clients. The key to using checklists in your office is to have the checklists match what is really happening with the process. This will ensure that your firm benefits from the use of checklists.

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