Operating with an incomplete checklist
We consider a time-critical operation that is contingent on completing a preliminary set of actions in a checklist. Aerial combat missions, emergency surgeries, launching a new product, and rescuing hostages are a few examples of such situations. The operation may be executed before the full checklist is completed but then it may fail. The failure probability depends on the uncompleted actions. The question is when to abort the checklist and initiate the operation. In this article, we study this problem and prove that in certain realistic cases a simple myopic approach is optimal.