Six Sigma Tools: Prioritization Matrix

A Six Sigma Tool called a Prioritization Matrix helps you in narrowing down the activities or projects by identifying a beneficial order of getting the most important things done first. It works on assignments and projects whose relative importance is not yet known. It is used in situations where you have access to limited resources like money, time, and people (employees).

When it comes to using a prioritization matrix, it is important to identify whether the solutions that will be provided by the Six Sigma actions or projects are interrelated. You are required to be certain that any action taken will deliver results. This is followed by a ranking of the actions being considered in delivery. The individual or team then makes a decision on how to proceed with the order of events or actions that will follow until the desired results are obtained.

The prioritization matrix is created when everything cannot be done at the same time. This approach removes uncertainty on how best to use energy or resources in order to achieve a certain goal. It also works perfectly when an individual or organization has specific goals for quality improvement; the main point of any Six Sigma Implementation.

Other situations in which this type of matrix could be useful is when an organization knows and has accepted the criteria for good solutions but does not know or disputes how to get there. This particular Six Sigma Tool gives a beneficial and clear line of action where time, resources, and results interact precariously. The team can construct a matrix on priorities and find a faster and more workable solution to get to where they want to be.

The process begins by identifying and agreeing on the ultimate objective. This is necessary in order to have everyone working toward a single goal. A brainstorming session follows, where the criteria for achieving the goal is outlined. The items are listed as they are mentioned, not according to priority. This covers all the options available.

An L-shaped matrix is then drawn to aid in judging of the relative importance of each criterion. Numerical strengths will be required in this case. The figures used in gauging the numerical strength give a clear understanding of the importance of each action compared to another. The totals are indicated at the end of the rows and columns. This is the figure that gives you an indication of the best action to take first; in other words, the action that will bring about the most change/benefits.

The sequence or combination of events and actions is then weighted against the other options. The numerical value of the criteria and choices available are an indication of the choices you have. Choices available for remaining criteria should also be considered.

The matrices developed on each item make decision making more certain and less arbitrary; one of the main points and benefits of the Six Sigma methodology as a whole. The impact and expected results upon each action are clear to every member on a company’s Six Sigma team(s). This increases the chances of success and avoids incomplete decision making.

Using matrices creates discipline while making decisions by ensuring that all factors relating to the activity or goal at hand are considered. The analysis has delivered the best results for individuals and corporations who follow the Six Sigma Method. This method should only be used in a situation when the results are beneficial considering the time and investment spent in training the employees and implementing the entire process, Prioritization Matrices, included.