Checklists-Paper or spreadsheet, manual or automated?

Checklists! The all-important last stop before a project goes live or goes onto the next stage of its creation. When we buy goods there is often a label  showing kite marks or adherence to quality controls so I’m sure these things and processes are common place.  The question however is; does a company get the best results by having such lists on a spreadsheet and automated system? Well I for one stand very firmly in the “no” camp!

When I was responsible for quality control in a web design agency, we had in all fairness; some good people who to support the process of design, optimisation and development, needed to monitor progress at many stages. Examples I can think of include, confirmation that the correct keyword research had been undertaken, that the sites hosting requirements had been confirmed, that the SEO department had reviewed the site map and url structure, that consideration had been given to lower page structure and long tail keywords. Had the site map, design and keywords focus all been signed off by the client and was the site WC3 compliant – these are to name but a few.

Interestingly, however good the team members were, it was my experience that people didn’t take ownership of what they were signing (or completing) if the checklist was on a computer/spreadsheet. Indeed, the most effective results where achieved by the purchase of a box full of clip-boards to which the checklists were attached and the clip board would accompany the project from department to department where the person responsible, be they the developer, designer or search engine promotion specialist, would all have to sign their name in ink that the process which was their responsibility was completed to the company standard. The very nature of their signature in ink on actual paper seemed to engender ownership and care.

So for me (on the question of paper or spreadsheet that is) I vote… manual and paper!

avatar Name: James Briggs
About: James is a Digital Marketing Consultant with over 12 years of design, development, search engine optimisation and project managment experience previously fullfilling a number of senior roles for two of the South's most well established and successful digital marketing agencies before setting up WebSafe Solutions Ltd in 2009. In his own words..."I've planned, designed and developed countless websites and am proud to have helped hundreds of clients to get the very best from their digital marketing campaigns. Some would say I have an unusual blend of knowledge, skill and experience and for my sins I'm an absolute perfectionist!"
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