Cause and Effect Matrix


Cause and Effect Matrix

The Cause & Effect Matrix, also known as the C&E Matrix or X-Y Matrix, is a great tool for engaging your subject matter experts to understand the relationships between various factors (causes) contributing to specific outcomes or (effects or business measures). This structured framework allows organizations to prioritize efforts relative to multiple important metrics or effects. This enables the organization to identify the causes wreaking the most havoc and address these critical causes, making informed decisions for improvement efforts.

To use the Cause & Effect Matrix effectively, start by defining the metrics or outcomes that you want to assess the causes against. These are your "Y's." Your primary metric for your project should be the first metric, then your secondary metric, then other important business measures (can be any other relevant performance measures).  After you've listed these metrics on your matrix across the top, it's time to give them weight (1-10 weighting). A higher weight means it's a more important metric.

Next, take all your causes derived from your Cause and Effect Diagram and list them down the column "Input Variables" in your C&E Matrix. After that, it's time to facilitate a meeting with subject matter experts (SMEs) who will help you rate each input variable (cause) against each important business measure. The template will do the rest of the work in terms of calculations. When you're finished, you should have a prioritized list of variables that rank from highest to lowest impact relative to all the identified important business measures.

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