Happy New Year! As 2012 unfolds I thought we would look at the Critical to Quality Tree and how it works. The Critical to Quality Tree is a tool that helps visually identify what activities are ‘critical’ to success. With all things critical will mean different things to different industries and organizations, but this post will aim at providing you with a road map to begin your quality journal.
What does the Critical to Quality Tree look like?
The good news is that a Critical to Quality Tree is very easy to construct, here’s a sample.
The needs section is where you identify what you know your organization needs to improve upon. There is no formula for this identification except for the goals you have set for yourself and what your customer feedback has identified.
The drivers section is essentially the solutions to the need that your improvement team has identified. This is where brainstorming and innovation can begin to take root. The purpose of this section is to give your team a concrete roadmap that highlights where they should direct their energy.
The CTQ section is quite simply how you will make those changes. The beauty of a CTQ tree is that is forces you to create concrete and actionable strategies. In effect it creates accountability and focus, all your strategies are now able to be centered on your specific goal identified in the needs section.
What it doesn’t do
The Critical to Quality Tree does not provide automatic solutions and it does not measure process quality. If this is a method that you are thinking about, be aware that you will have to provide the information. What is unique about CTQ is that there are no stats involved, before you get happy understand that this does not make it a light activity. You have to be very specific and you have to know your exact market before you start the activity.
As always, this is not a step by step approach but a general introduction to the tool. It can be very useful and produce a tangible tool for your staff to use in creating and implementing solutions.
You hear about this rule all the time from management, human resources and just about any business guru you can think of, so what exactly is it and how do you use it? The Pareto Chart, based on the Pareto Rule (commonly called the 80/20 rule), is an economic distribution principle named after Italian engineer Vilfredo Pareto, which showed 80% of land wealth was held by 20. Business has adopted this principle to say that 80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the people.
What you need to know
The Pareto Chart measures specific data in broad concepts and puts the information into a summary you can interpret a little easier. If you want to measure how often a process stalls or how many times red comes up in a sea of blue, then this is the method for you. When you use this method, before you begin you should decide how you want to group the items you’re measuring and how that measurement will happen. Ask yourself, am I measuring by weeks, days or hours? This distinction will make a difference in your results so you will need to find the most appropriate one.
When you should use it?
You should use the Pareto Chart when you are trying to find the frequency of something, say how often customers return a specific product or the reasons why the product is delivered late.
What a Pareto Chart looks like:
When you’ve gathered your data, you will use that information to create a Pareto Chart. An example of what a Pareto Chart might look like is below.
There are more steps involved in creating a Pareto Chart, but this post should give you some insight into what it is used for and why it is used.