A Check Sheet is a tool to collect both qualitative and quantitative facts about quality problems. When it is used to collect quantitative data, then known as tally sheet

As per the PMBOK® Guide Sixth edition defines Check Sheet as:

A tally sheet that can be used as a checklist when collecting data  

This is an effective tool from one of the 7 basic quality tools, both to prevent and detect problems by having structured valuable data about quality problems.

Differentiating with check list:

Some professional’s gets confused in check sheet and checklist. Check sheet is not a check list, checklist is basically listing of items 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 checklist while the check sheet is a collection of facts about a problem categorized by their cause, types, and/or location

Following table further explains the difference between check sheet and checklist:

Check Sheet Check List
Check sheet conveys information about frequency of problems by type, causes and/or location The Checklist is used to include all the necessary steps need to follow to ensure the accuracy and completeness of a work product or process. The Checklist can be used while working on a check sheet to ensure its accuracy. For example, what steps need to follow to develop check sheet while collecting real time data
It is normally developed and agreed by the team members as per need of the project. For example sometimes team chooses to develop it to count the frequency for the source of the problem, alternatively team can choose to capture frequency of the data categorised by causes. In other words, check sheet is customized by a team. For a process, Checklist structure generally comes from the documented standards. Another checklist like to-do list comes from other influences, like someone is preparing to-do list as per expectations set.
These is a tool to record facts about interruptions or problems as a result of a quality control process This is a tool to record what steps are required to fulfil an objective.

Where It Is Used?

Check sheet is one of the tools from 7 basic quality tools, and used in “Plan Quality” and “Control Quality as a Tool & Technique.  Here, my basic objective is to explain the check sheet in the context of these two processes.

While planning a project, past projects document records are used as an input to identify the process improvements to know where sources and causes of defects encountered and where we may need to do efforts to prevent them in the current project. For example, we are using the same team which was involved in the previous project, these factual data can help us to identify how they are collectively executing a process and at what point we can prevent defects in work products.

Like past projects check sheet shows that many defects encountered under category of “misinterpretation of customer requirements” then we may result in a process improvement plan for “Collect Requirements” process. In addition, quality policies in quality management plan and metrics can be designed to measure future work performance and processes.


Check sheet is used as a Tool & Technique in “Control quality process to know about frequencies of problem in a format agreed by the team.


Example Check Sheet

In order to understand the concept I am taking an example that may be used in software project, here I am choosing to show the check sheet in terms of frequencies of quality problems categorized by their causes.

A test team member is evaluating work products to detect problems from the specifications. The team may choose to categorize data about quality problems in 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 examination of work product test team member, team member assesses the defects and enter the frequencies in their respective category of causes like:

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


Benefits of Check Sheet

Main objective of check sheet is to produce quantitative data about quality problems and use as an input of other seven quality tools like Histogram and Pareto analysis that will be discussed in my upcoming articles.

In addition check sheet is also used to collect qualitative data like no of interruptions that comes from intuition, judgement and feeling of observer.

In short it is an effective tool to collect both quantitative and qualitative data about quality problems.

I hope this blog has sufficiently answered your all queries related to Check Sheet. Good Luck with your PMP® Certification Exam.

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