Check Sheet as a Component of Seven Basic Quality Tool

  • Project Management
Created on :
April 14, 2014
Seema Sonkiya
Updated on :
May 24, 2023

A Check Sheet is one of the 7 basic quality tools relevant to the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam. Its primary objective is to prevent and detect problems by systematically collecting valuable, structured data on quality issues. The Check Sheet is versatile and can gather qualitative and quantitative facts about quality problems. It is commonly known as a tally sheet when employed specifically for collecting quantitative data.

In the context of the PMP, the Check Sheet is defined as:

A check Sheet is a tally sheet that can be used as a checklist when collecting data. It provides a structured format for recording data, making it easier to spot patterns and trends. It helps to make data-driven decisions and take appropriate actions for improvement.

 Differentiating Check Sheet with a checklist:

Some professionals get confused in check sheets and checklists. The check sheet is not a checklist; the checklist is basically a listing of items that need to be considered for the purpose of accuracy and completeness. For example, maintaining a daily to-do task list is a good example of a checklist, while the check sheet is a collection of facts about a problem categorized by its cause, types, and/or location.

The following table further explains the difference between check sheet and a checklist:

Check SheetCheck List
The check sheet conveys information about the frequency of problems by type, causes, and/or locationThe Checklist is used to include all the necessary steps needed to ensure the accuracy and completeness of a work product or process. The Checklist can be used when working on a checksheet to ensure its accuracy. For example, what steps should be followed to develop a check sheet while collecting real-time data?
It is typically developed and agreed upon by team members based on the specific needs of the project. For instance, the team may choose to develop a check sheet to track the frequency of problem sources, or they may opt to capture the frequency of data categorized by causes. In other words, the check sheet is customized by the team to suit their requirements.For a process, the structure of a Checklist is typically derived from documented standards. On the other hand, a checklist resembling a to-do list may be influenced by other factors, such as an individual preparing a to-do list based on the expectations that have been set.
This tool serves to document factual information regarding interruptions or problems that arise as a result of a quality control process.This tool is used to record the necessary steps required to achieve an objective.

Differentiating Check Sheet with a Matrix Diagram:

 In the realm of PMP exams, test takers often encounter confusion between check sheets and matrix diagrams. While a matrix diagram is a tool used in quality management to analyze the relationship between two variables, a check sheet serves a different purpose. A matrix diagram presents data in a matrix format, enabling visual representation and comparison of data points to identify patterns, connections, and interactions. On the other hand, a check sheet focuses on collecting data and observations, providing a structured method for organizing information. The key distinction lies in the fact that a matrix diagram analyzes relationships and interactions, while a check sheet captures data for further analysis and decision-making.

 To gain a visual understanding of Check Sheets and distinguish them from Checklist and Matrix Diagrams, I recommend watching this informative video. It provides a clear presentation that enhances comprehension and highlights the differences between these three tools.

Where Check Sheet Is Used?

The check sheet is one of the seven basic quality tools and is utilized as a Tool & Technique in planning and controlling quality. In this context, the primary objective is to provide an explanation of the check sheet and its relevance to these two processes.

Past project records can be used to identify process improvements and prevent defects when planning a project. For example, if the same team is involved in the current project as in the previous one, analyzing factual data can help understand how they executed processes and identify areas where defects can be prevented in work products. If the check sheet from past projects reveals a significant number of defects categorized as “misinterpretation of customer requirements,” it suggests the need for a process improvement plan for collecting requirement process. Additionally, quality policies within the quality management plan can be established, along with metrics, to measure future work performance and processes.


The check sheet is utilized as a Tool & Technique in controlling the quality to track the frequencies of problems in a format that is agreed upon by the team.


Example Check Sheet:

To illustrate the concept, let’s consider a software project example. In this case, you can use a check sheet to display the frequencies of quality problems categorized by their causes. This approach helps you identify common issues and their underlying causes, facilitating a deeper understanding of the project’s quality.

 A test team member is responsible for evaluating work products to identify problems based on the specifications. The team may choose to categorize data about quality problems into the following categories:

Categories suggested by Roger S. Pressman:

  1. Incomplete or erroneous specification (IES)
  2. Misinterpretation of customer communication (MCC)
  3. Intentional deviation from specifications (IDS)
  4. Violations of programming standards. (VPS)
  5. Error in data representations (EDR)
  6. Inconsistent component interface (ICI)
  7. Error in design logic (EDL)
  8. Incomplete or erroneous testing (IET)
  9. Inaccurate or inconsistent documentation (IID)
  10. Error in programming language translation of design (PLT)
  11. Ambiguous or inconsistent human/computer interface (HCI)
  12. Miscellaneous (MIS)

 While examining the work product, the test team member assesses the defects and records their frequencies in their respective categories of causes, such as:

 Check Sheet suggested by Roger S. Pressman in software engineering a practitioner’s Approach:

BLOG image check sheet

Benefits of Check Sheet:

  1. Provide Quantitative Data for Quality Problems: The main objective of a check sheet is to produce quantitative data about quality problems. It provides a structured framework for capturing and organizing data related to quality issues. This quantitative data can be used as input for other quality tools like Histograms and Pareto analysis, enabling teams to gain insights into the frequency and distribution of specific problems.
  2. Share Qualitative Data Collection: Besides quantitative data, check sheets can be used to collect qualitative data. It allows observers to record qualitative information based on intuition, judgment, and feelings. This qualitative data provides valuable context and additional insights into the observed occurrences.
  3. Application of Check Sheet in Agile: In Agile, Check sheets also help capture data, aid data-driven decisions, and drive continuous improvements. It enables teams to track occurrences, identify patterns, and prioritize actions for better outcomes. During retrospectives, it helps track team feedback and identify areas for improvement; for example, teams can gauge the significance and prioritize improvements by tallying the number of times a specific issue or improvement suggestion is mentioned. In iteration reviews, the check sheet can be used to capture stakeholder feedback on demonstrated features and functionalities. For instance, teams can record the number of positive comments, identified issues, or feature requests to gain insights into the overall reception of the product. So, by leveraging check sheets, Agile teams systematically collect and analyze data, aiding decision-making and fostering continuous improvement throughout the project lifecycle.

 In Conclusion, check sheets play a significant role in project quality planning and control. It is a versatile tool that facilitates data collection, organization, and analysis. Check sheets generate quantitative data for quality problems and support other tools such as Histograms and Pareto analysis. It also captures qualitative data based on the observer’s intuition, judgment, and feelings. Used in Agile retrospectives or sprint reviews, check sheets aid decision-making and drive continuous improvement. With their structured format, check sheets are essential for monitoring and observing project quality, making them relevant for the PMP exam.

 I trust that this blog has effectively addressed all your inquiries regarding check sheets and their significance in quality planning and control.

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