The X-Matrix – Out of the Silos

X Matrix Hoshin Kanri

X Matrix Lean: At Hoshin Kanri, the X Matrix is an excellent tool for presenting adopted and agreed-upon goals in a condensed manner across divisional boundaries at the various levels of the organization.

What? – Breakthrough Goals

In the lower quadrant – also called the six o’clock position – we enter our breakthrough goals, the “WHAT”. Breakthrough goals are those goals that we expect to significantly increase performance.

The following checklist is for developing breakthrough goals:

  • Relationship to strategy
  • Significant value to customers
  • Get out of comfort zone
  • Measurable
  • Begin value and target value
  • Max. 3 breakthrough goals
  • 100% commitment

To what extent this year? – Annual goals

Also here we have a checklist: 

  • 1st stage to breakthrough goal
  • Max 3 year goals
  • Begin with baseline and target
  • No “hockey stick” planning
  • 1st year 50%, 2nd year 25%, and 3rd year 25%
  • 100% comittment

How? – Improvement Priorities

After the annual goals are set, the top of the X-Matrix works out what improvement priorities are needed to achieve the annual goals. This is the 12 o’clock position.

While the WHAT? is answered during goal development, the next step is to find answers to the HOW? questions. Improvement priorities, then, are those focus issues on which to concentrate in order to achieve breakthrough goals.

With our checklist in mind, there are also things to question here:

  • Improve processes
  • Drive annual goals
  • No to-dos
  • Clear focus
  • Qualitative
  • Max. 7 priorities

How much? – Success indicators

Let’s now look at the right quadrant – the 3 o’clock position. Here we need to define success indicators that give us the answer to – HOW MUCH?”

In order to see during the year what effect the implementation of the improvement priorities are having, appropriate metrics such as lead times, response times, error rates and so on need to be defined, planned and measured on a regular basis.

Thus, the metrics tell you by when a certain performance should be achieved by implementing the improvement priorities and thus provide a picture of the achieved quality, cost or duration.

Let’s look at our checklist again.

  • Measure improvement priorities
  • Begin value and target value
  • Measurable monthly
  • Unique definition
  • Quantitative
  • Max. 2 indicators of success per VP

Who? Responsibilities

The next step is then to determine key people for the respective improvement priorities and to answer the question of WHO?”

In doing so, we distinguish between the so-called primary responsibility and the supporting responsibility.

This definition not only provides a clear assignment of who is responsible for what, but in particular starts the coordination process cross-departmental or cross-functional on a horizontal level.

Let’s take a look at the checklist for the definition of responsibilities:

  • Influenceability
  • Max. 2 per leader
  • Resources available
  • Right supporters
  • Equal level of hierarchy
  • Balanced distribution

Summary – X Matrix Lean Management Tool

The X-Matrix Lean method provides an overview of all aligned goals across divisional boundaries by defining who is responsible and who supports the responsible person.

By assigning these responsibilities we create horizontal alignment and prevent working in divisional silos.

The X-Matrix Hoshin Kanri can be structured along levels of hierarchy or along process chains. In agile organizations, where we work in virtual teams, for example, the field “Responsibilities” contains the respective participants, regardless of hierarchy levels.

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Header Photo by Miguel Bernardo on Unsplash