Ensuring that the Inputs (Xs) are recorded at Actionable Level

A hypothesis test or a correlation analysis is enough to confirm that there is a relationship between two variables. The next question that one needs to ask is whether this information is actionable. This is the objective of the analyse phase, to give correct and actionable information to the improve phase about the variables in question. Whether the X’s are actionable plays a significant role in whether the analysis will meet the tollgate deliverables set for this phase. Hence this article will explain the concept of actionable X’s in detail:

What is an Actionable X ?

Consider a case where we know that a difference exists between two variables. Lets say that we collected data and conducted a hypothesis test to confirm that there is in fact significant difference between the performance at one factory and that at the other. Does this mean that we have enough evidence to say that location is the reason behind the difference.

At this point in time we only know that the outputs at two factories are different. They could be caused by difference in management, difference in worker skills, difference in machinery, location and a myriad of other factors. So have we actually completed our task of giving factual information to the Six Sigma Project?

The hypothesis may be considered as the first stage in this scenario. It has given us a clue about the variation that exists. However, it needs to be pursued further until is clear and not ambiguous. Until an action plan can be developed to eliminate the variation. Hence the term actionable X.

Subjectivity of the Actionable X

We need to understand that deeper and deeper analysis is possible almost at every stage in the progress. However the Six Sigma project team will have to take a call when they have enough information to develop an action plan. Hence actionable X as a concept is vague and depends on the experience and maturity of the team involved. The Project Champion or the Project lead usually take a call whether the X’s are actionable enough.

Should the Actionable X’s be Pursued for all Inputs ?

Also, conducting analysis on the X’s to convert them to actionable X may take significant time and resources. Therefore, one must understand that the all X’s need not be recorded at actionable level. Most probably, the Six Sigma team will not take an action on all X’s. Thus, only the vital few X’s that have been analysed by Pareto analysis to have shown a significant effect on the process must be recorded at actionable level.

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