Book Review – The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist Manifesto

A premise of this book could easily be gleaned from the title: checklists – good, no checklists – bad! In fact, the author himself says: “…does it take all that to figure out something that someone who ever made a checklist figured out ages ago?”

However, this book is essential for actuaries and here is why I think so:

  1. We all believe that are jobs are too important to be reduced to a checklist.
  2. Our models have become “too much aeroplane for one person to fly”.
  3. Auditors will love you.
  4. If you are an auditor, you love checklists.

Let’s break it down a little. Let’s say you work in the financial reporting department at an insurance company. You have a list of tasks that you need to do each quarter to produce a list of required outputs. *BAM*, that’s already two checklists! Most likely, the list of things you need to do each quarter keeps growing, since the people on the receiving end of your reports never like to remove stuff and keep adding more “nice-to-haves”. *BAM*, another checklist!

Let’s say you have a complex model that you need to run each quarter to produce results. Also, let’s say you created a manual tweak to the model to make it produce output, instead of spreadsheets full of “#N/A”. Let’s say you made a note of this on the margins of your notebook. *BAM*, looks like you need a checklist!

If you are an auditor, take it from me, you love when your clients organize their output and provide you checklists of the tasks performed. This way we get some comfort that you are not relying on a series of notes on the margins of your notebook, but are instead approaching your tasks in a systematic and organized fashion. *BAM*, *BAM*, *BAM*, checklists all over the place!

Bottom line, read the book. It explains the benefits of checklists in a much clearer manner, with examples and without annoying *BAM*s all over the place.

The Checklist Manifesto









The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right