Lean Defined: The XY Project Selection Matrix

Lean Defined: The XY Project Selection Matrix

During any operational lean journey, one will often find there are many things to fix and improve with a disproportionate amount of time and resources.

A key part of this journey is being equipped with a toolbox to identify and eliminate waste. These tools, (5-Why, Fishbone Diagram, Pareto, etc.), can be extremely effective in uncovering problems and consequently creating a laundry list of projects and initiatives to improve the current state and drive toward efficiency.

While problem exposure is positive, the projects can quickly pile up and suddenly it becomes unclear as to which problem is more important than the other. Where does one begin? Now we have a new problem of how to solve problems; how ironic. Worry not, because the lean toolbox has yet another tool to handle this exact problem - the XY Project Selection Matrix.

Lean XY Project Selection Matrix Lean XY Project Selection Matrix

The purpose of the XY Project Selection Matrix is to prioritize; define what is important to you or your organization and how each of the projects accomplishes those goals. Here are five basic steps for using this tool:

1. Identify Metrics: Listed in the top columns of the chart as the y-axis. (see image above). These items define which elements are measured. In the likely event some metrics are more important, this can easily be accounted for by assigning weights to each metric.

2. Compile Projects: Listed in left hand rows as the x-axis (see image above). List all the projects included in the scope of this exercise.

3. Assign Values: Listed in the body of the matrix. Review each project and assign a value for how it measures against the metrics in the y-axis.

4. Score Projects: Listed on the last column on the x-axis. Calculate the project score by multiplying the value for each column with the respective weight (if applicable). Add all the scores together.

5. Prioritize Projects: Sort the project scores from highest to lowest. You should now have a guide on where to begin.

The concept behind the tool can be easily extrapolated to use for other purposes, such as comparing alternatives to a solution, demonstrating cause and effect, or narrowing down potential causes to an issue.

Personal Example: Last year when I moved to Texas from Pittsburgh to take on my role as a lean logistics manager, I had about eight hours in to look at apartments and decide where I wanted to live prior to moving. Aside from needing efficient time management to see a variety of places, I needed to make a quick decision. I used this chart to identify my desired elements in an apartment (i.e. size, location, amenities, etc.) and scored each property as I toured it. By the end of the day I had a clear cut winner and had signed a lease.

Written by Jamil Afza, Lean Logistics Manager at LeanCor.

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Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

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LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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