Lean principles include the identification and codification of standard work. Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge, its purpose is to enable skill and knowledge to be applied consistently and effectively.

Efficient development of high-quality courseware and supporting player software is not a touchy feely, unmanageable process. It is a creative process, but one that benefits from thoughtful application of defined principles, practices, methods and techniques. Standard work checklists developed by the Lean-Agile teams are our systematic development practices.

Lean author Jami Flinchbaugh points out [1] in The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, that author Atul Gawande explores applying standard work to the complex field of medical work. If standard work using checklists can improve the work of specialists like surgeons and pilots, it can also work in learning experience development. Checklists can be the main way we apply standard work.

Atul Gawande’s book is worth reading. He writes well about how checklists can help. We think checklists are a domain crossing idea that can help in learning experience development too. Gawande points out that checklists are not formulas, but reminders to help performers be systematic to reliably perform.

Gawande clarifies that checklists are "not comprehensive how-to guides," but are only meant to "buttress the skills of expert professionals."

So why don’t we already have checklists in use in all complex work? Atul Gawande talks about airline pilots and medical doctors using checklists.

We don’t like checklists.
— Atul Gawande

So like pilots and surgeons, those of us in the learning and development discipline use checklists as simple tools designed to buttress the skills of expert instructional/LX designers, developers, and media professionals.


1. To read Jamie’s blog entry, see Standard work is not a replacement for skill and knowledge, by Jamie Flinchbaugh on May 29, 2012. http://jamieflinchbaugh.com/2012/05/standard-work-is-not-a-replacement-for-skill-and-knowledge/.
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