Sustainment Checklist

The Tool and Why It’s Valuable

The gains that Lean teams make through their project must be maintained and form the foundation for future improvement. The sustainment checklist is a tool that defines specific criteria to gauge sustainment of improvements and movement toward the targeted outcomes and the vision.

Used consistently at 30-day intervals, the sustainment checklist is a useful tool in ensuring that projects are meeting their targeted outcomes and that the operation is moving toward the established vision.

How to Apply It

  1. Complete the first draft of the sustainment checklist within the first 30 days of approving the implementation plans.
  2. Consider selecting a mix of sustainment criteria that are observable and specific measures of success for that process (are the new forms being used? Is the number of defects decreasing?).
  3. Consider using ratings. For example:
    1. No Evidence Change is Used,
    2. Change is Used Inconsistently, and
    3. Change is Always Used
  4. Ensure that there are simple means to consistently capture these measures or observations.
  5. After using your visual tools or reporting for a while, evaluate whether the criteria are providing the information you need. If not, consider trying different measures or criteria to better define how you can continually improve the operation.
Pearls and Pitfalls
  • Failure to monitor measures makes the next cycle of improvement more difficult. You cannot build unless the foundation is solid. Not addressing issues in a timely fashion destroys employee confidence.
  • Engage others from outside your area or process to complete the sustainment checklist. They will be unbiased.
  • Sponsors must take action quickly if improvements are not sustaining.

Key Points

  • Utilizing this checklist reinforces the importance of sustainment and helps instill a deeper Lean culture of continuous improvement.
  • Research suggests the failure rate for sustaining an improvement might be as high 70% - therefore this is a critical step to the overall success of your project.

Example of Sustainment Checklist

Access Permits Sustainment Checklist

Project Name:

Project Sponsor:

Checklist Completed by:

Date Completed:

Item Number
  1. No evidence
  2. Inconsistently
  3. Always used
Access management website is functioning, contains customer information, and provides accurate status
Pre-app, pre-design, and NTP checklists are in use and used correctly
Quarterly access meetings are on the calendar and Access Managers attend in person
Measurement scorecard is updated and actions are prescribed based on trends
Customer feedback surveys are distributed and customer feedback is compiled and acted upon
Outreach to key local agencies and developers is conducted in each region
Regular meetings with supporting teams are held to evaluate performance and prescribe actions