What is an XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix
The XY Matrix (or the Cause & Effect Matrix) is a six sigma tool which can be used to prioritize key inputs and simultaneously rank priorities of customer outputs. The XY Matrix tool is most frequently used to support the DMAIC “measure” phase to show the relationship between X (Cause) and Y (Effect) factors. Another way of thinking about the XY Matrix is that it helps correlate between the process input variables and the customer outcomes being assessed during the root cause analysis.
Description of XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix
The XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix is also referred to as the Prioritization Matrix or the Correlation Matrix. No matter the name, the purpose of the tool is to mathematically compute the correlation between inputs and outputs in a rigorous way.
There are six unique steps to conducting an XY (Cause & Effect) analysis through the use of an XY Matrix. The steps to completing the XY Matrix are as follows:
- Identify customer requirements: Conduct customer surveys and determine what their priorities are around a specific product, service or idea.
- Assign priority rankings to customer outputs: Determine which customer outputs are top priorities, and which are lower priorities. Six Sigma practitioners typically use a 1-10 scale, with 1 being low priority and 10 being high priority.
- Identify key inputs: List all input variables which may affect each of these output priorities from customers. These become the X’s in the XY Matrix. (Example: “Good Taste” may be a key customer output for coffee drinkers, while “Bean Freshness” may be a key input closely related to that output.)
- Determine relationship between outputs and inputs: Review the relationship between individual outputs in the Y axis and inputs on the X axis. Rank each input in the matrix using a geometric progression scale (0, 1, 3, 9) with 0 being no impact, 1 being low impact, 3 being medium impact and 9 being strong impact.
- Do the math: Cross multiply customer output with correlation rankings before adding up the sums of each row in the far right column.
- Rank & correlate: Determine the rank of each input and how closely it correlates with top priority outputs based on the highest sum total.
The completion of this XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix will help determine improvement areas and look for ways to connect business activities (inputs) more effectively with desired customer outcomes (outputs).
Tools & Templates
The tools managers used to enable the XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix are cause and effect analyses, process flow maps, and voice of customer insights.
upBOARD's Online XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional process checklists and problem solving models, upBOARD’s online XY (Cause & Effect) Matrix tool allows any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
2 X 2 Matrix, ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, Business Model Canvas, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Economic Value Added, First Mover Advantage, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Key Outcome Indicators, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey 7S Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, Partner Relationship Management, PEST Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SMART Performance Metrics, SMARTER Goals, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.