Why use checklists?

B-17 bomber

I’m a huge fan of checklists. If you have used them and love them, great. If you need some persuasion then I’d strongly recommend `The Checklist Manifesto’ by Atul Gawande. It’s a very readable and highly compelling explanation of how checklists can help just about any enterprise, how they work and when to use them. […]

Strategy Checklist: Is your strategy ready to support meaningful measures and KPIs?

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Why is a strategy checklist important? Imagine a friend saying to you “Can you pop out to the hardware store and buy a tool for me?”. Obviously your first question would be “What kind of tool are you looking for?” Deciding on your measures and KPIs without having a clear strategy is exactly like going […]

How good are your reports? A design checklist.

Another stinker of a dashboard. Copyright Bernie Smith 2012

The Brilliant Dashboards Checklist: A systematic approach to assessing your dashboard You may be trying to work out why your current reports aren’t working properly or wondering if you missed anything on your newly created masterpiece. This design checklist encourages you to consider each element of your design and to score it if you are […]

30 Second Tip: An obvious thing that never gets done….

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Define you measures. Make sure each measure is clearly described, has an owner, has a documented way of calculating it, the source of the information, what it’s intended to do, how it should be reported and what action should be taken based on what it’s saying. Here is a KPI Definition Checklist that will help you do […]

9 Things you should never do in Excel

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Excel rules the roost when it comes to real-world management information. It’s easy to knock it, but millions of people find it quick and painless to use. There are some things you just should not do in Excel. Here’s my highly subjective list. Never….   Use Excel as a database. OK, I know you are […]

Design Principles for an Effective Management Control System

Control Seat

Here’s a 30 second guide to what makes up a management control system. A clear set of strategic objectives A method for translating strategic objectives into practical measures and KPIs that every person in the organisation can affect in some tangible way Trusted, clear and accurate management information. Produced in timely way, to the right […]

Setting up your meetings well – 10 point checklist

Bored in a meeting

I’ve sat through a lot of meetings. Many of them were terrible and ineffective. There are a lot of different aspects to a good meeting, some are easier to fix than others. Fortunately one of the most common failings is relatively easy to fix with some careful thought and discussion, namely “What is the purpose […]

Data Analysis – 10 Point Checklist

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How good is your organisation at analysing the data you produce? Carefully answer these questions (you can use a 1-5 scale to improve the resolution of the checklist, where 1 is low/poor and 5 is high/strong). Are data and reports separate entities? Does revision of reports require manual intervention? Is there flexibility in cutting data […]

Data Production – 10 Point Checklist

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How good is your organisation a producing the data you need? (we aren’t talking about analysis, see this analysis checklist for that). Carefully answer these questions (you can use a 1-5 scale to improve the resolution of the checklist, where 1 is low/poor and 5 is high/strong). Does data arrive in a structured way, ready […]

KPI Definition Checklist

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It’s all too easy to end up with poorly defined KPIs. If this happens then there may be confusion about the purpose or definition of a KPI. Confusion leads to mistrust and disuse. Use this checklist to see if each of your KPIs and measures is well defined: KPI Name: Use a “what-it-say-is-what-it-is” type name, so that it doesn’t […]