I distinctly remember the day it dawned on me that architectural design was a PROCESS. I was still under the care of a mentor (babysitter). It suddenly dawned on me that he was trying to teach me his design process, even though he didn’t present it that way. Then the large wattage bulb went on - everyone has to have a process, or you would never pull it all together.
This episode happened pre-Internet. Trying to find information about the ideal process was a waste of time. The information was not out there. However, at about the exact same moment, 1973, the AIA was preparing their first Document D-200, Project Checklist. Finally the recipe I sought was available. Kind of.
Benefits Of Checklists
Before I move on, let me explain that I don’t think I am being arbitrary about liking checklists. Checklists definitely have some benefits.
Checklists create a repeatable process, which increases the value of your organization by raising your standards. This is a top business goal.
The Hard-Learned Lesson
The sequence issue was a hard-learned lesson. We once spent several months, meeting weekly, to discover what were our major recurring problems. There were a couple dozen.
Example: We prided ourselves on our grasp of codes. However, we found that it wasn’t doing any good to apply that knowledge for the first time in the second half of Design Development. Lesson learned: check codes early and often.
The Design Strategy Tool Started It All For Me
The Design Strategy Tool was an early attempt to make use of what we had learned about how checklists could improve our performance.
It is more of an overall project checklist. Another use that I made of it was in preparation of proposals. I used it as a way of qualifying what was, or was not, included in our work. I continue to find it an easy way to get a grasp on a project’s complexity. And an easy way to not overlook anything we might be responsible for.
Lists Developed Over The Years
Over the years I have continued to develop checklists in search of the holy grail of the ideal checklist for each phase of architectural services. Some of the people who contributed ideas (unknowingly) to my effort:
Most recently I discovered lists developed by Dennis V. O’Neill that you can find here.
The Architectural Practices lists are really very well done. I suspect that I will be doing some borrowing from what I see there.
The results of all these inputs has been published here in a former post.
You can see that the idea of phase checklists has been on my mind for decades; and now it is a retirement hobby.
My Plan Is To Build Phase Checklists In Trello
My plan at the moment is to build phase checklists in Trello. A key element of the idea of phase checklists is a reusable task list. The public board, Project II, is a preview of where this is heading.
Trello offers all the features that I’ve been looking for.
As you explore Trello you will quickly see that all these features are covered as well several other nice-to-haves: labels, attachments, and integration with Harvest. Integration with Harvest lets you track time that is spent on the project in the same format as your tasks are laid out.
Every month or so I will be publishing my progress in developing the overall project checklist by phases. Keep yourself posted on my progress by subscribing to these posts by email. A benefit of signing up now is access to the published Trello project management checklists.
(revised Nov 2015)