Round Table - What Makes A Best Practice Project Management Checklist

Apr 13, 2021 9:10:37 AM

Author: Bluefield Team

Question for the Group - When you were working on sites what made the PM checklists that the tradies used good or bad? Steve Flannery raised this in the technical discussions, and I thought it would be good to use it as a round table discussion. In my experience, these documents are so subjective that it is almost impossible to define a best practice, but it would be good to get inputs and thoughts from people.

Even as we go into the digital age, I am sure there are many enhancements that can be made but from what I have seen so far, all the current digital checklists are just a digital version of the same document. I am sure there are opportunities to use digital tech to automate steps in the work management process. Please share what has been your experience and what you think would be good for the future of these documents.

James Owen

Great question Gerard - something that Ben Slaughter, Hector Bello, Ben Prior and I have been discussing for the job we started this week - developing PM checklists for gold processing plant overseas. My thoughts/challenges are: A best practice PM checklist is one that the end-users (there are at least 2 - the maintainers, and the planners) find most "helpful" in achieving the desired outcomes when carrying out their work. This statement is vague, as the level of help required is dependent on the operating context and maturity of the organisation. For example, a benchmark mine in QLD will have a very different operating context than a small-cap in other parts of the world. For our current project we have been asked to apply the following: More detailed explanations but using photos or diagrams rather than words, do NOT use condition codes (e.g. A, B, C, N) but only a tick for completion of each task, one language only (we will have the master file all in English and the document attached to the PM all in French), include a cover page (mostly safety) and a close-out page (sign-off). My thoughts are we remove both the cover/safety and sign-off pages altogether. There is no defect reporting where it can be traced back to a subsequent notification etc. so the detail of the back/sign-off page adds little value and is covered by the WO front page sign-off and safety is covered elsewhere external to the CMMS/WMP. The PM content will be individual tasks step by step with 1) Task Statement e.g. Lubricate bearings 2) Picture (e.g. showing the bearing locations) with call-outs (e.g. pointing to the grease nipple or stating instruction (e.g. Measure Temp.), 3) Where a result/record is required, a table corresponding to the Picture call-outs, 4) acceptable limits e.g. in the picture callouts or result table). This is far more complicated than we would normally do. But what else can we do? What else should we be trying to achieve in this context, to align with Best Practice? I'm looking forward to hearing from other people.

Peter Yates 

What a topic, where to start! The best PM inspection sheets I have seen have been developed/compiled using stakeholders from the maintenance engineering and maintenance execution teams. Criteria that contribute to a good PM inspection checklist.

1) Inspections that add value, in that we can demonstrate if we don't complete the check and at the correct frequency, a failure or undesirable outcome is imminent. This is the responsibility of the maintenance engineering team using FMECA, downtime data, incident investigations etc

2) Inspections that can be completed with quality, contains instruction on how to complete the task effectively (as required) with acceptable criteria - again the responsibility of maintenance engineering

3) Inspections are sequenced so the technician completes the tasks in a logical efficient order e.g. all the engine checks while in the engine compartment - this is the responsibility of maintenance execution.

Good PM inspection sheets can be developed if the teams work together so they each understand the "WHY"?

Wade Konotopsky

Adding to Yatesy's comment about adding value... don't request inspections that won't be used. Things like brake pack stack height on Cat trucks, wear plate thicknesses, etc. If the planners are not going to actually use the measurements to trend and forecast, there is no point. If it is a go/no-go type of measurement, by all means, give the spec for evaluation, but if the data is not used, the workers will stop performing a task if they don't see a benefit (and if no one notices if it's not done).

Stefan Van Der Linde 

Concise but clear! I've been on a site where the electricians were given a 58-page inspection book to complete with over 800 tasks on it! I've written about this in the past about my suggestion that aviation-style checklists should be introduced into mining:

"In aviation, they have simple checklists for all procedures during preflight inspections and flying procedures including emergency situations (see below). They are supported by more detailed explanations in other parts of the manual as well. The idea is to have a very quick reference to ensure you don’t miss a step or response for all parts of flying (like ensuring you lower the landing gear!). The format for aircraft checklists couldn’t be any simpler (and that is the point), there’s a check and a response (often coupled with a verbal or physical response such as physically pressing on the mixture push rod to ensure it’s in the full RICH position). This is the same concept the Japanese train system uses to ensure all checks are verified by verbal and physical responses, this reduces human error by orders of magnitude (their safety record is ~1 death per 50 Billion Passengers!). Something that should be introduced into the mining world in my opinion."

(Article reference:

Colin Sheldon

Some great comments here so far. When I was at Drayton, they started using Talisco's PPM (Picture Process Maps) in their work instructions and check sheets - the use of symbols instead of pictures really trimmed the content down so the number of pages was minimal while still communicating a great deal of detail (could get a 12-page document to 2 pages, picture worth a thousand words). It also did away with that first page of generic HSE detail and added the specific hazard symbol to the job step. This seemed effective, but it fell down when we then started using other software packages to generate the check sheet that didn’t have that flexibility or capability - we were forced to go back to words on a page.



Also, make sure to DOWNLOAD the checklist of questions that may give you the opportunity to develop your own PM list and manage any future failure modes.