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"inch pebbles" and milestones

By ellen.walker ·
I am researching a best practice for project management that says "Use binary quality gates at the inch pebble level". Inch pebbles are somewhat defined as tiny milestones. Break a task up into a series of small accomplishments that collectively would result in achieving a milestone. Inch pebble level implies that other levels exist - but I can't seem to find any relevant information. Is there a series of levels? foot - something? yard - something? and ultimately mile stone? Is there more beyone mile stone? Who created these analogies? when? under what environment? Does anyone know? Can anyone point me to a reference?

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Many Levels

by road-dog In reply to "inch pebbles" and mile ...

Using all of the increments, getting dressed in the morning can be broken down into 73,500 "inch pebbles" or definable steps.

For larger projects have very important deliverables indicating completion of contract requirements, thus prompting a visit to the customer's accounts payable with an invoice requiring a wheelbarrow.

These very pivotal points and associated deliverables are referred to as AU planetoids, in deference to the late Gene Roddenberry. AU being Astronomic Unit equaling approximately 8 light minutes distance, and Planetoid indicating a mass roughly the size of our moon, or 1/6 the mass of the earth.

Appear smart in project meetings, use this at the next one you attend.

Refer to :

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Milestones are simply events

by road-dog In reply to Many Levels

in the timeline of a project. The "inch pebble" term is a term I've heard several times to indicate a small event, rather than a larger event triggering action, payment, or decision.

In my experience, the projects where the term "inch pebble" were used were micromanagement nightmares where the project was broken down with such great specificity as to cause excessive meetings and endless manhours tracking events instead of performing them.

This really becomes a problem when deliverables tracking almost overshadows the project itself.

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Looking for actual data

by ellen.walker In reply to Milestones are simply eve ...

Do you know of any projects in which the inch pebble construct was(is) used? a point-of-contact perhaps? Or any case studies of projects that used the binary quality gates at the inch level best practice?

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You are dealing with a different model

by road-dog In reply to Looking for actual data

Than I am familiar with. I suspect that you are looking for a functionality flow broken down in great specificity with events "inch-pebbles" prompting a switch in a gate state. If so, you might want to look at the IEEE web page for more information.Other useful references might be any other web pages associated with electronic design.

I'm sorry for giving you the runaround in earlier posts, I thought the original post was asking for etymology behind the "Inch Pebble".

I think most of us here are involved in "post development" implementations of technology.

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by timwalsh In reply to "inch pebbles" and mile ...

I think you may be trying to read too much into what this particular "best practice" is really trying to say.

I can't find an origin for the present analogy of the "milestone." Milestones are the origin of the mileage markers we see on present day roadways. They are "checkpoints" if you will, to help a traveler determine distance traveled and distance yet to be traveled. The present usage of the term in project management makes perfect sense.

Let's assume that we are defining a milestone as a significant event that must occur (or checkpoint that must be reached) in order to achieve successful project completion.

It would also make sense that any checkpoint used to measure "distance traveled" (on the path to project completion) can have intermediate checkpoints to ensure you don't stray from the proper route (hence "inch pebbles"). You can obviously define any further intermediate steps/measurements/etc., but at some point it would start to get ridiculous. (which is why you don't see "foot rocks" (??) or some such).

Let's also assume that a project manager isn't already defining milestones at the micro level.

With these assumptions, what this "best practice" is saying is:
1. Break down the path to the milestone into a series of smaller, easily-defined and testable (or verifiable) steps or "inch pebbles" (i.e. smaller than a "milestone").
2. Before moving from one step to the next, use a simple test (binary quality gate - yes/no, go/no go, pass/fail) toensure you can successfully meet your milestone.

This will help prevent a situation where you have reached the point where a milestone should be achieved, but hasn't because someone forgot to complete step 12 of 75,000 steps.

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How to Use Inch-Pebbles When You Think Y

by zogdb In reply to "inch pebbles" and mile ...
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Airlie Council and SPMN...

by dcox In reply to "inch pebbles" and mile ...

...created the project management methodology that includes "inch pebbles." You can read more about their work at

Project Management methodologies abound. Find one (or create one) that fits the way your organizationworks (or the way it SHOULD work). If you need help with that, contact a project management consulting firm to help you.

My apologies for the subtle commercial message in that last sentence :)

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