Friday, August 12, 2011

Checklists and the Action Wizard: Putting the Manifesto into Practice

This Blog has discussed previously the utility of checklists, and urged attorneys to read The Checklist Manifesto. (As an aside, its author Atul Gawande has written several thought-provoking articles about the health care system for The New Yorker).

Jim Calloway has written another article about the importance of checklists for attorneys.

Calloway succinctly summarizes why checklists are crucial for attorneys:

"Lawyers tend to be creative problem solvers. The idea of spending the work day following detailed checklists may strike many as a rigid and unappealing business model. But the opposite is actually true. If you are going to have to do many simple and mundane tasks (and we all do), it is better to get them completed in less time and with less effort. That frees up more of your time for the valuable and creative work of lawyering and it might even allow you to go home a little earlier at night."

And in trying out Adobe Acrobat X, I learned that product has a feature-- the Action Wizard-- that automatically creates a checklist to be followed when performing an action (or series of actions) to a PDF document. For example, if you want to redact a document, the Action Wizard will take you through the steps required to identify redactions, apply them, remove hidden data, and reduce the file size:

There are other "standard" Action Wizard items available in Acrobat X, and you can create your own as well-- and preserve your knowledge of a process to share with others in your organization.