accurately completing projectsLet’s talk about the importance of checklists for accurately completing projects!

Did you know that within one hour, a person forgets nearly half of what they learn; moreover, people forget almost two-thirds of previously-learned information within 24 hours?

Hermann Ebbinghaus was born in 1858. He was one of the first to study the process of forgetting.


His 1885 experiments showed a relationship between the forgetting of learned information, over time.

This is known as the Hermann Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.  Ebbinghaus’ experiments found that a person actually forgets a large part of what they learn within just 20 minutes.

This discovery is NOT surprising, especially when you consider all the FORGETTING that happens in a business on a daily basis. Specifically, it causes errors, bottlenecks and many other types of waste. All of this costs money and depletes the bottom line; adding more stress for owners and managers, especially in a challenging economy.

This “forgetting curve” is the arch-enemy for accurately completing projects!

Things Owners and Managers Hear Frequently

  • I forgot you told me to call the customer for a press check… Sorry!
  • I forgot to order the part for the technician coming today… My bad!
  • I forgot and left the door unlocked to the server room… Oops!
  • I thought I told you I had to be off next week. Oh, well!
  • I was rushing around and forgot to order the paper… So shoot me!
  • I know you spent a lot on my training… I just can’t remember, OK!?

Sadly, we’ve also found that, in some cases, workers just don’t bother to retain information. I have to assume, somewhere deep in the creases of their libido, they’ve decided some information is just not relevant to their life agenda.

This type of individual tends to plug into the nearest information terminal; usually it’s the owner or manager.  Apparently, this seems to them a convenient (I’d say, LAZY) method of getting instructions or related information to complete tasks they perform regularly.  Now, if the owner/manager doesn’t mind repeated interruptions, then why should a worker bother to remember anything?

A Solution for Accurately Completing Projects

The remedy for forgetfulness comes with implementing written processes that NEVER forget! (i.e. checklists/procedures)

When you have implemented a Complete, Written Operations Manual, you are more than 90% of the way to conquering the problem and consequences of forgetting.


If we can measure FORGETTING, then we can also measure the WASTE that forgetting causes!  Think about it!

Did I mention? Great systems work!