Automated Checklists

I like to think of a starter kit as important automated checklists.

To help drive home the importance of this concept (checklists), let's consider an example from the medical field. Imagine that you have a sick patient and a doctor needs to run a line into their body. When a doctor puts a line into a patient, they have a specific set of steps that they have to perform. They have to wash their hands with soap, clean the patient's skin, put drapes over the entire patient, wear sterile equipment, and put a sterile dressing over the catheter site once the line is in. But here's what's interesting, although doctors have memorized this simple list, at one ICU doctors who are observed for a month accidentally skipped at least one of these steps one third of the time. That's a big deal, because skipped steps lead to infections which can lead to further sickness or even death.

The big idea is simple: as professionals, we think we can remember all the steps involved, but we can't. As we just discussed above, checklists aren't just for amateurs, they're for professionals too. Doctors placing lines in patients must follow a short list of tasks to help avoid infections, yet each year, thousands die from line-infections because of skipped steps. So one hospital instituted mandatory checklists with these amazing results: the 10 day line-infection rate fell from 11% to zero.

So they followed patients for 15 more months, and only two line-infections occurred during that entire period. So they calculated that in this one hospital, the checklists have prevented 43 infections, eight deaths, and saved over two million dollars in costs. See, doctors know what to do, but there are so many steps involved that it's easy in a high-pressure situation to overlook an important step in their job. And it's the same story today for JavaScript developers, we know what to do, but there are so many steps involved in doing things right, that it's easy to overlook a step.

A JavaScript starter kit is a living, automated, and interactive checklist. It removes the mental burden of trying to remember all the best practices, because it makes them automatic. It makes sure the right things get done even when you're in the heat of the moment. Thus, a well-designed starter kit becomes a pit of success. Doing it right becomes easier than doing it wrong, that's a big win. Now hopefully I've sold you on why a JavaScript starter kit is so critical for your team.