This page details out the three key elements for a successful job:
Checklists! There have been several studies into this however this one seems to be the most cited. It is a study into using checklists and reminders in hospitals to improve care. No-one can remember everything, especially when busy, so a simple checklist helps focus your efforts helps to ensure you don’t forget anything along the way.
Typical details! We do a lot of great design work, but how many times have we all repeated the same piece of work again and again. How many times have you racked your brain for a job completed years ago which has part of a detail you wish to repeat on the next project, or how many times have you drawn a typical detail only to find out you had drawn it previously (and sometimes better!). Or another common occurrence is an engineer who sits opposite you, with the same problem, solves it from scratch costing time and money on the job re-treading old ground.
Standardised forms! Every company has a standard form for normal engineering functions such as ‘Information Required Schedules’ or ‘Document Comment Sheets’. In my experience it will be housed in a folder on the network which no-one has accessed in ten years. Instead the ones currently used will be a version copied from job to job, being edited to suit individual purposes or being supplemented with preferences from engineers who come from a different company who have ‘always done it this way’. A standardised form, in a central place, with a clear owner, allows for a standard approach across the entire company.