Checklists

Overview

Flexible, lightweight checklists are one of Flat's distinctive features. They're more than just a way to break down a topic into a list of tasks to complete (although they certainly are that). They're also:

  • a handy way for managers to keep tabs on a topic's progress without imposing extra effort on the team

  • a lightweight way to map out operational procedures

  • the means to create flexible topic hierarchies for projects, epics, milestones, and other structures

Key concepts

A topic can have any number of checklists. A checklist is just a list of items to complete, but there are some aspects that make Flat's checklist model different:

  • A checklist can contain not just simple tasks but also links to child topics. The same checklist can contain both types.

    • A simple task is just some text describing a bit of work to be done.

    • A link to a child topic is a flexible parent-child relationship for representing topic hierarchies like projects, epics, milestones, and other structures. You can link to topics in any workspace.

  • Each checklist is associated with a stage in the topic's workspace. That provides two benefits (see the example below for more detail):

    • It's clear how the checklist fits into the topic's workflow.

    • A checklist's progress is shown on the topic's card in the workspace when the topic is in the associated stage.

Example

In this example, the team decides to use simple tasks to break down their work because they don't need the extra weight of child topics.

Imagine a software team building a web application. Let's say they have a workspace with stages called Design DevelopmentTestingDone. They're going to build a new small feature.

The product manager creates a topic for the new feature in the Design stage.

The designer decides to create a checklist associated with the Design stage to help track the mockups and other visuals they'll need to create. In the workspace, the topic's card shows a small progress bar depicting this checklist's status, so it's visible at a glance to the product manager how design is coming along.

When the designer is done, they move the topic to the Development stage.

The developer decides to create two checklists associated with the Development stage, one to help them track changes they'll need to make in the application's database, and another to help them track changes to the application's UI. In the workspace, the topic's card is now in the Development stage, so it shows a small progress bar depicting these two Development-related checklists (but not the Design checklist). Now it's visible at a glance to the product manager how development is coming along.

When the developer is done, they move the topic to the Testing stage.

Finally, the tester decides to create a checklist associated with the Testing stage containing their test plan. Now that the topic is in the Testing stage, in the workspace its card shows a small progress bar depicting the Testing checklist.

Throughout the topic's life cycle, the product manager was able to see at a glance in the workspace how the topic was progressing, and they didn't need to impose any extra effort on the team, pester them for updates, or wait for the next team meeting.

Step-by-step

Creating a checklist

To add a checklist to a topic, visit the topic's page, then, in the page's central content area, click the checkbox icon on the palette in the bottom left corner.

Adding and removing tasks

To add a task to a checklist, just click into the checklist and start typing into the input box. Hit Enter when you're done.

To remove a task, hover over the task in the checklist, click the vertical ellipsis button on the right, then click Delete.

Attaching and detaching child topics

To attach a child topic to a checklist, click into the checklist to open the input box, then type # to bring up a search popup where you can search for the child topic by ID or text.

To detach a child topic, hover over the topic in the checklist, click the vertical ellipsis button on the right, then click Detach child topic. The child topic itself will still exist, but it will no longer be a part of the checklist.

Learn more: Flexible topic hierarchies

Editing the name and stage association

While viewing a checklist on a topic's page, click on the checklist's name to modify it. Use the dropdown next to the checklist's name to pick which stage the checklist should be associated with.

Deleting a checklist

Only empty checklists can be deleted. To delete a checklist, just remove each item.

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