Potential presentation idea: The magic of checklists

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    This morning, I was sitting down with one of my co-workers, going through a procedure. He was referring to a document that was difficult to follow. I started thinking, this would be a lot better if it was a checklist.

    I then started thinking about a previous job (seems like it was a lifetime ago) where we created, maintained, and referred to server installation checklists. (It's one of the documents to which I refer in my Disaster Documents presentation.)

    I also started thinking about another presentation that a friend does for SQL Saturday about what IT can learn about plane crashes. He makes a reference to checklists in his presentation.

    So now I'm thinking that I have a possible presentation idea on my hands. What do you folks think? Anything that I should include? If you have ideas, I'm all ears.

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    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

  • Ed Wagner

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286957

    Ray K (10/21/2016)


    This morning, I was sitting down with one of my co-workers, going through a procedure. He was referring to a document that was difficult to follow. I started thinking, this would be a lot better if it was a checklist.

    I then started thinking about a previous job (seems like it was a lifetime ago) where we created, maintained, and referred to server installation checklists. (It's one of the documents to which I refer in my Disaster Documents presentation.)

    I also started thinking about another presentation that a friend does for SQL Saturday about what IT can learn about plane crashes. He makes a reference to checklists in his presentation.

    So now I'm thinking that I have a possible presentation idea on my hands. What do you folks think? Anything that I should include? If you have ideas, I'm all ears.

    I guess it would depend on what kind of checklists you're thinking of presenting.

    Whatever you do, please don't quit that Disaster Documents session. I really wanted to see it in Pittsburgh, but helped out with the WBADBA track instead. If you're coming to Cleveland in February, I'd be very interested in seeing it. It's a perspective most people don't have.

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    Ed Wagner (10/21/2016)


    Whatever you do, please don't quit that Disaster Documents session. I really wanted to see it in Pittsburgh, but helped out with the WBADBA track instead. If you're coming to Cleveland in February, I'd be very interested in seeing it. It's a perspective most people don't have.

    I didn't realize Cleveland was doing a SQL Saturday in February. I didn't see it on the save-the-date section. I'll have to keep that in mind!

    I have friends who live just outside of Cleveland; I suppose this'd give me an excuse to pay them a visit! πŸ™‚

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    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

  • Ed Wagner

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286957

    Ray K (10/21/2016)


    Ed Wagner (10/21/2016)


    Whatever you do, please don't quit that Disaster Documents session. I really wanted to see it in Pittsburgh, but helped out with the WBADBA track instead. If you're coming to Cleveland in February, I'd be very interested in seeing it. It's a perspective most people don't have.

    I didn't realize Cleveland was doing a SQL Saturday in February. I didn't see it on the save-the-date section. I'll have to keep that in mind!

    I have friends who live just outside of Cleveland; I suppose this'd give me an excuse to pay them a visit! πŸ™‚

    Well, it isn't official or anything. I'm going off of what they've done in the past.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124991

    Yes, checklists are essential for database administrators, and even experienced DBAs are not in the habit.

    However, it's not exactly a ground breaking idea.

    Brad’s Sure DBA Checklist

    https://www.simple-talk.com/sql/database-administration/brads-sure-dba-checklist/

    Brent Ozar's SQL Server Setup Checklist:

    https://www.brentozar.com/archive/2014/06/sql-server-setup-checklist-free-ebook-download/

    DBA Morning Check List

    http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Administration/62480/

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Bill Talada

    SSChampion

    Points: 11956

    I listened to the following great audio book from my local free library which may give you some excellent ideas for a presentation. It is the best book on checklists and improving performance that I've found.

    Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

    Here is the Amazon permalink: http://a.co/aSzNnHI

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    Eric M Russell (10/21/2016)


    Yes, checklists are essential for database administrators, and even experienced DBAs are not in the habit.

    However, it's not exactly a ground breaking idea.

    Well, FWIW, I don't think any of my presentations are really "groundbreaking." What I'm asking is, how many people are actually doing them? Mostly I try to raise awareness of practices that tend to either be ignored or fall under the radar.

    If people tell me they've improved upon something because of something I presented, then I've done my job. πŸ™‚

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    Bill Talada (10/21/2016)


    I listened to the following great audio book from my local free library which may give you some excellent ideas for a presentation. It is the best book on checklists and improving performance that I've found.

    Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

    Here is the Amazon permalink: http://a.co/aSzNnHI

    Will definitely keep that in mind. My friend also suggested The Checklist Manifesto. He told me he'd bring his copy to our next SQL user group meeting and let me borrow it. (Admittedly, I'm posting this to remind myself as much as anything else.)

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    Ed Wagner (10/21/2016)


    Ray K (10/21/2016)


    Ed Wagner (10/21/2016)


    Whatever you do, please don't quit that Disaster Documents session. I really wanted to see it in Pittsburgh, but helped out with the WBADBA track instead. If you're coming to Cleveland in February, I'd be very interested in seeing it. It's a perspective most people don't have.

    I didn't realize Cleveland was doing a SQL Saturday in February. I didn't see it on the save-the-date section. I'll have to keep that in mind!

    I have friends who live just outside of Cleveland; I suppose this'd give me an excuse to pay them a visit! πŸ™‚

    Well, it isn't official or anything. I'm going off of what they've done in the past.

    I just got the email. It's now official. SQL Saturday #595 in Cleveland is scheduled for Feb. 4.

    Let me check my calendar (not to mention discuss with my wife) to see if I can pull that trip off!

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994261

    Hi, Ray...

    I'm not sure that you're interested but, for me, check lists are uber important when writing code. I'll take a requirements document, draw a process chart of what needs to be done, and the first bit of code that I write are actually in the form of comments in the code as to what needs to be done and why. Not only is it a check list, but it's automatic documentation in the code.

    My general rule of thumb is that if you remove all code from something (stored procedure, view, function, whatever), the comments that remain should allow you to rebuild the process flowchart with little other knowledge of the system.

    Of course, comments like "Update the Customer table" are stupid and absolutely worthless because it's missing the "WHY". "Give each qualified customer the current bargain discount on their next purchase" (for example) would be a much better comment because it very simply states why that particular section of code exists and in generic enough terms so the comment doesn't need to be maintained for minor code changes.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. πŸ˜‰

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395395

    As long as the checklists are for things we can't automate. I've seen many peoples checklists and thought, why don't you just automate the first six items.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • LightVader

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3618

    I had to take one of our production systems off line this past weekend so that another group in the company could do some server maintenance. After going over the plan a few times with the other people involved in this maintenance, I created a checklist to take the system down and another for bringing the system back up when the maintenance was finished. The first thing I did Monday morning was scan in my two checklists and upload them to our documentation site for the application.

    This isn't the first time I've had to do scheduled maintenance over the weekend. I've created a checklist each time so that I have all the steps written down in order and I can tick them off when they're completed and add any notes. Depending on the maintenance and systems involved, I'll have someone else give my checklist a once over to make sure I don't have any glaring omissions.



    The opinions expressed herein are strictly personal and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of my employer.

  • webrunner

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 29864

    Ray K (10/21/2016)


    Bill Talada (10/21/2016)


    I listened to the following great audio book from my local free library which may give you some excellent ideas for a presentation. It is the best book on checklists and improving performance that I've found.

    Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

    Here is the Amazon permalink: http://a.co/aSzNnHI

    Will definitely keep that in mind. My friend also suggested The Checklist Manifesto. He told me he'd bring his copy to our next SQL user group meeting and let me borrow it. (Admittedly, I'm posting this to remind myself as much as anything else.)

    +1 for The Checklist Manifesto. Touches right on your presentation topic.

    -------------------
    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and says Can I join you?
    Ref.: http://tkyte.blogspot.com/2009/02/sql-joke.html

  • Ray K

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 31035

    Ray K (10/21/2016)


    Bill Talada (10/21/2016)


    I listened to the following great audio book from my local free library which may give you some excellent ideas for a presentation. It is the best book on checklists and improving performance that I've found.

    Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

    Here is the Amazon permalink: http://a.co/aSzNnHI

    Will definitely keep that in mind. My friend also suggested The Checklist Manifesto. He told me he'd bring his copy to our next SQL user group meeting and let me borrow it. (Admittedly, I'm posting this to remind myself as much as anything else.)

    Finally getting back to looking into this. Amazing how time flies when you get busy.

    I looked up these books, and it turns out they're both written by the same person (Atul Gawande). I'm going to make it a point to get to the library and check them out.

    +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
    Check out my blog at https://pianorayk.wordpress.com/

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