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“punch list” August 11, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Definition.

punch list
(punch lizt)

If you’re in a particularly bad mood, you might say it’s “a list of crap I need to do in addition to all my usual crap and the stuff that gets dumped on me on a fairly regular basis”. If you’re in a good mood, you might say it’s “a list of interesting new ideas that we really should explore”.

Punch lists are a way of making it seem like you have actionable items that will be addressed in a prompt and initiative-filled manner. And the worst part is that you probably came up with some of these ideas. See, it starts with brainstorming sessions — your manager asks you and your team to come up with a couple of good ideas to grow the brand, or drive traffic, or make money, or do more with less. S/he puts them together, divvies them up in a fairly even fashion according to who would be the best at a specific project, and then says “okay, let’s go over the punch list.”

You probably even already have one of your own. Maybe it looks like mine. Maybe on the left you have a list of action items — “things that should’ve been finished yesterday before you blew out at 6:00” — and on the right a list of long-term projects — “things that I really want to do but will never get to because my left-side list is jammed and gets longer every day”.

Punch list items naturally end up on the left side.

The punch list can also refer to a list of things that everyone complains about and one or two people have to fix, but it’s more likely, from a corporate perspective, that you’ll just be stuck working on projects that have no goal other than “make it seem like the employees’ ideas are acted upon before corporate quashes them”.


1. interdepartmental status meeting « corporatespeak - August 14, 2008

[…] feel like he was wasting his time. All in all, a good meeting. And, bonus, there was no punch list issued at the […]

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