Designing effective check sheets

The defining characteristic of a check sheet is that data are recorded by making marks (“checks”) on it. A typical check sheet is divided into regions, and marks made in different regions have different significance. Data are read by observing the location and number of marks on the sheet.

Check sheets typically employ a heading that answers the Five Ws:

  • Who filled out the check sheet
  • What was collected (what each check represents, an identifying batch or lot number)
  • Where the collection took place (facility, room, apparatus)
  • When the collection took place (hour, shift, day of the week)
  • Why the data were collected.

Check sheets are used to;

  • To quantify defects by type
  • To quantify defects by location
  • To quantify defects by cause (machine, worker)
  • To keep track of the completion of steps in a multi-step procedure

There is a cost associated with designing check sheets, training people to collect and analyse data, collecting data, collating data, analyzing data and then taking corrective / preventive actions. All these costs are part of the price of conformance and must be factored into project cost estimates.

Sample check sheet

PM Tools



Check sheet – Wiki

Effective bench marking steps

When I was working for a product company well known for it’s product quality and testing practices, another product company wanted to benchmark their testing practices with our company. That was my first tryst with Benchmarking.

Do you want to learn and improve fast? It could be your product, project, process or even you as a professional. The best approach would be to bench mark with a better product, project, process or professional with an intent to learn and improve faster. This is a smarter approach than trying to re-invent the wheel by yourself, which is both expensive and time consuming.

Project benchmarking is a process which helps to compare the estimated cost, scope, schedule and project cashflows with past similar projects. It is also possible to benchmark a project against industry standards and frameworks. For example, one can always benchmark a project’s plan with its compliance against leading project management frameworks like PMBOK by the Project Management Institute (USA), Total Cost Management Framework (TCM) by AACE, Projects in Controlled Environment (PRINCE2) by AXELOS, Standards from Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) etc.

The output of bench marking will provide the gaps which needs special focus. Bench marking is commonly used in Public projects as the government has access to large amounts of data of similar project.

How to perform effective bench marking?

1. Plan Bench marking

  • Define the purpose and scope of the bench marking exercise
  • Form the team
  • Identify the source and target to bench mark
  • Define the benchmark study report template
  • Define the time line

2. Do Bench marking

  • Collect data
  • Validate data
  • Develop bench mark report

3. Check the bench mark report

  • Validate the accuracy benchmark report

4. Act on the bench mark report finding

  • Identify the corrective actions
  • Form the corrective action teams
  • Plan the corrective action projects
  • Execute the corrective action projects
  • Evaluate the results
  • Institutionalize

Rules of Credit


Defining rules of credit during the contracting / planning stages is one of the most important steps for effective monitoring and controlling based on ‘S’ curves and Earned Value Management. Without proper definition of rules of credit measuring planned value of work and earned value of work is not possible.

Rules of credit are used to measure the progress of work completed against the planned work. The most commonly used rules of credit are;

  • 0/100 – Work is considered as earned (completed) when it is 100% completed.
  • 50/50 – 50% of the work is considered as earned as soon as the work starts. The remaining 50% will be considered as earned only when the remaining 50% is fully completed.
  • 25/75 – 25% of the work is considered as earned as soon as the work starts. The remaining 75% is considered as completed only when 100% of the work is completed.
  • 20/80 – 20% of the work is considered as earned as soon as the work starts. The remaining 80% is considered as completed only when 100% of the work is completed.
  • When none is defined, we apply % completed based on actual measurement or expert judgment.

Rules of Credit – Examples

Let us see how the progress is reported based on the various rules of credits discussed above. The orange arrow indicates the review point.

ActivityEarned Value
ActivityEarned Value


Defining rules of credit at the activity level during project planning is key to progress monitoring and control. This helps to roll up the project progress information in the activity, work package, milestone, project sequence. The commonly used rules of credit are 0/100, 50/50, 25/75, 20/80 and percentage completion based on actual progress made.

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