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Checklists

I'm quite sure that everybody knows what is a "check list". If you don't know, and even if you do, a check list is a list of things that needs to be checked or done. Each line (kinda) is one step on a very long procedure and after having checked or done the step, you put a mark on the line and proceed with the next one.

Checklists are useful when you have a long procedure that is going to be chopped into single steps to be sure that none is missed or failed.

It sounds very simple (and it is) but there are even full books written on the argument.

And they are used in many different circumstances. Especially when the process to be performed is important and/or dangerous, like in areonautics. Before each flight, both pilots run through a pre-flight check lists checking things to be sure they don't forget something. We should also do something similar in every day life. For example, what was the last time you checked if all the lights of your car are in working order?

The problem isn't much in the lists, but in the execution. Because to have the lists of checks or steps written down and in order doesn't help if they are not executed. For example if you're ready to leave for a vacation, already in the car and with safety belt strapped on and after looking around you ask "where's the little boy" and the answer is "in the bathroom" and then you simply drive off... maybe that is not what you should do (even if it is what you'd LIKE to do).

And this is true also for other peoples. Years ago there was a big airplane crash, that was caused by a simple mistake: the fuel pumps switch was on the 'off' position instead of the 'on' position. That switch was in the checklist. Both pilots checked it and marked it as 'done', but they didn't turned it on.

And now we're going back to the normal world and we'll talk about documentation, that is not precisely a checklist but it looks a lot like it sometimes.

It happens that there are things to do to have other things working, and this kind of documentation looks a lot like a checklist because is an ordered list of steps to perform. But if the steps are ignored it obviously doesn't work.

And here it comes CL! That shows up lamenting about some stuff that doesn't work.

The "stuff" in specific was some sort of semi-automated procedure that I put together to do... something, and in 90% of the time it does work automatically without supervision, but sometimes, for some people, it fails. And couldn't figure out exactly why, so I wrote some documentation explaining the fix in an easy sequence of steps that every user interested in the thing should be able to follow and fix the problem, without having to ask me or anybody else. That is handy when I am at home trying to sleep while the CL of the moment gets the urge of doing something on a sunday morning for example.

In this case it wasn't sunday (luckily) but it was a normal working day, so CL arrived with the laptop at my table lamenting the misfiring of the thing.

Me - Ok, have you tried the manual procedure?
CL - Yes but it doesn't work.
Me - What doesn't work? What kind of errors does it throw?
CL - I don't know, it doesn't work.
Me - Ok, let's see.

Grab the latop and open the documentation, my "procedure" shows up.

Me - Ok, step 1: start powershell.
CL - Ok, so I click here, and then there, and then up, and then double click on this...
Me - No, you start powershell.
CL - But if I run this script...
Me - No, You start Powershell.
CL - But...
Me - START POWERSHELL.
CL - But...
Me - START! POWERSHELL!
CL - I double click...
Me - Did you read the docs?
CL - Yes.
Me - Did you UNDERSTOOD it?
CL - ...yes...
Me - Which part of 'Start powershell' ain't clear?
CL - But...

After repeating the question for about 15 minutes, CL finally decide to start powershell.

Me - Good, now step 2: go to D:\Tools\Sync
CL - So I double click on the script...
Me - NO. You go to D:\TOOLS\SYNC!
CL - But...
Me - Listen, if you say that you've read the documentation and you followed it, why the fuck do you want to do something that has nothing to do with that now?
CL - But.. if I double click on the thing there...
Me - If you read the doc it says very clearly that works only in some cases, that is not obviously yours. So why do you want to proceed in a way that will definitively fail?
CL - Ah, no, I was thinking that...
Me - I ask again: did you read the docs?
CL - Yes...
Me - So why aren't you following it?

After some times, we finally followed (for real this time) the procedure as documented and we noticed that, if you do what is in the doc and not something else, it actually does work.

Because checklist and documentation are fantastic when they exists, but if you don't follow them, they are useless!

Davide
18/10/2018 15:45

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Comments are added when and more important if I have the time to review them and after removing Spam, Crap, Phishing and the like. So don't hold your breath. And if your comment doesn't appear, is probably becuase it wasn't worth it.

11 messages this document does not accept new posts
Anonymous coward By Anonymous coward - posted 10/12/2018 11:02

Io sarei stato cazziato perché la mia documentazione avrebbe dovuto prevedere i casi tentati dall'utente... Fa niente che non servano a una fava.

Ah, il tutto ovviamente condito dall'immancabile "Noi eroghiamo servizio!".

--
Anonymous coward


Luca Bertoncello By Luca Bertoncello - posted 10/12/2018 11:46

Ah, le checklist! Io non salgo su nessun aereo che non ho controllato personalmente.

Ma sai quanto devo madonnare perche' i miei allievi (non tutti, per fortuna) la usino e non la imparino a memoria (che se lo fanno saltano sempre qualcosa, tipo "controllare che il serbatoio sia pieno" o roba del genere)...

Si, la teoria e' una gran bella cosa...

 

Ciao

Luca

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Luca Bertoncello


Luca Bertoncello By Luca Bertoncello - posted 10/12/2018 18:37

...salito su un aereo che non aveva mai guidato prima.

Ecco.. a questo punto io mi sarei gia' preoccupato...


Anonymous coward@ Luca Bertoncello By Anonymous coward - posted 11/12/2018 13:41

...salito su un aereo che non aveva mai guidato prima.

Ecco.. a questo punto io mi sarei gia' preoccupato...

 

E perche'? Prima o poi devi ben provare a guidare altri tipi di aerei... D'altronde a bordo c'ero ben io, che quell'aereo lo conosco.

Certo, non avrei mai pensato che quel deficiente dell'allievo chiudesse il serbatoio pensando di aprirlo (che c'e' solo un'etichetta di 10x5cm li accanto, eh?)...

 

D'altronde, l'importante e' che il motore si sia spento prima del decollo. Dopo il decollo avremmo dovuto mettere in pratica l'ultimo punto della Checklist, ossia l'atterraggio di emergenza in caso di piantata motore al decollo...

Gia' provato (in simulazione). Se non hai pensato prima dove vuoi atterrare, nel mezzo secondo che hai a disposizione ti schianti prima di riuscire a pensare a cosa fare...

 

Ciao

Luca

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Anonymous coward


Davide Bianchi@ Anonymous coward By Davide Bianchi - posted 11/12/2018 15:44

E perche'?

Perche' ho sempre pensato che gli aerei ed altri "cosi volanti" dovessero essere pilotati e non "guidati"...

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Davide Bianchi


Luca Bertoncello@ Davide Bianchi By Luca Bertoncello - posted 12/12/2018 07:38

E perche'?

Perche' ho sempre pensato che gli aerei ed altri "cosi volanti" dovessero essere pilotati e non "guidati"...

 

Uff, questo e' quel che succede se parli tedesco per il 99% del tuo tempo... Dimentichi l'italiano...

La frase originale, come l'avevo pensata, era "Warum? Früher oder später muss der Schüler auch andere Muster fliegen", dove "fliegen" puoi tradurlo con volare, ma anche pilotare. Certo, se ci si dimentica il verbo pilotare...

 

Ciao

Luca

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Luca Bertoncello


Thomas By Thomas - posted 11/12/2018 08:57

Regola aurea coi CL: quando ti dicono "sì, l'ho fatto" in realtà significa "no perché è troppo lungo/complicato/noioso, ma voglio comunque provare a farti fesso".



Motivo per cui io parto di default col LART verbale. E talvolta anche fisico.



(sì, sono conosciuto per la mia pazienza e pacatezza nello spiegare le cose, come l'avete capito?)

--
Thomas


Akart72 By Akart72 - posted 11/12/2018 12:23

Io, ho il problema contrario, fra le altre cose scrivo i manuali utenti delle macchine che vendiamo.

A causa della legislazione americana devi scrivere eplicitamente i comportamenti vietati.

Chiarmente l'utente che inizia a leggere, alla quarta volta che si trova un idiozia tipo "non lasciare la mano nella pressa" o "evitare di toccare i fili scoperti" cestina il tutto come immondizia inutile 

Chiaramente nel paragrafo sucessivo c'e' scritto come risolvere il problema che ha lui in quel momento

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Akart72


Messer Franz@ Akart72 By Messer Franz - posted 12/12/2018 09:23

 

<Chiaramente nel paragrafo sucessivo c'e' scritto come risolvere il problema che ha lui in quel momento

 

E a quel punto ti chiama per sapere come risolverlo e, mentre è in attesa, tocca i fili scoperti e mette l'altra mano nella pressa...giusto?

 

 

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Messer Franz


Guido By Guido - posted 12/12/2018 07:50

Quanto mi fa inc@%%@re quando tu scrivi della documentazione, questa funziona e la gente si ostina a voler fare come cappero gli pare...

--
who uses Debian learns Debian but who uses Slackware learns Linux


Axxel By Axxel - posted 14/12/2018 10:07

Traduzione a membro di chihuahua, ma appropriata: "checklist" = "lista per i ciechi", perché tanto non leggono mai né liste né manuali d'uso.

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Axxel


11 messages this document does not accept new posts

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