Bouncing Quarters during Bunk Inspection

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.  That word reminds me of summer camp and having my bunk inspected to ensure that I made up my bed and that I did it properly.  First, the inspection verified that I had indeed performed the task of making up my bed.  Second, inspection validated that I had performed the task correctly according to the “specifications” of a well-made bunk.  Now, I won’t say that the inspector tried to bounce a coin off my tightly tucked sheets and blanket, but I HAVE heard of that inspection technique!

I DID have to properly tuck in the corners (using a “hospital corner” technique) to meet the requirements of a properly made bunk.  The blanket had to also be smooth and taunt, not showing any wrinkles from a loosely or carelessly tucked bunk.

In project management, this same tool of inspection is used in two similar ways as my bunk inspection.  First, in the process of Perform Quality Control, inspection provides validation that the deliverables of the project meet the quality specifications.  The final deliverable may be inspected, or possibly the result of a single project activity may be inspected for conformance to quality metrics.  The “Validated Deliverables” output of this process is needed as an input to the process of Verify Scope.

The tool of inspection is also seen in the process framework in the process of Verify Scope.  This process involves inspection of the project’s Validated Deliverables relative to the project requirements in the scope baseline.  The goal of this inspection is to verify the acceptance of the deliverables and to acquire the formal sign-off of acceptance from the project sponsor.  The “Accepted Deliverables” output of this process is needed as an input to the Close Project or Phase process, necessary for successful completion of the project.

So, the tool of inspection is used in both processes, but it is used to answer different questions about the project deliverables.  First, in Perform Quality Control, inspection answers the question, “Does the result conform to specifications?”  Second, in Verify Scope, inspection answers the question, “Does the deliverable fulfill the requirements of the project scope?”

One Velociteach student restated these concepts more simply by observing that:

  • Inspection in Verify Scope answers, “Did we build the right thing?” and that
  • Inspection in Perform Quality Control answers, “Did we build the thing right?

The Verify Scope process checks for completeness of the project scope according to the scope baseline.  The Perform Quality Control process checks for correctness of the deliverables according to specifications.

For PMP® Exam preparation, be sure to understand the nuances between these two uses of the tool of inspection in the process framework.