Classic Frameworks

Hoshin Kanri Matrix

By A Staff Writer | Updated 04 Sep, 2023

Hoshin Kanri Matrix, which translates from Japanese as “direction management,” is a strategic planning method used in organizations to align a company’s strategy with its actions and resources. This method aims to engage all the organization’s members in a systematic and coordinated way to achieve strategic goals.

A Hoshin Kanri matrix, also known as a “X matrix” or “policy deployment matrix,” is a visually oriented tool used in Hoshin Kanri strategic planning. The matrix is designed to capture and visually present the strategy from a high-level perspective and then break it down into manageable, actionable tasks that can be assigned to different departments or individuals.

The Hoshin Kanri matrix serves as a roadmap, showing where the organization intends to go (the strategic objectives) and how it plans to get there (the tactics and activities). The matrix includes:

  1. Long-term objectives: Broad goals usually for a period of 3-5 years.
  2. Annual objectives: Specific, measurable goals that are set to be achieved within the next year.
  3. Measures: Metrics used to track progress towards achieving the annual objectives.
  4. Targets: Specific values of the measures that are to be achieved.
  5. Initiatives: Specific projects or activities that need to be completed to achieve the annual objectives.

Use Cases

Hoshin Kanri matrices are primarily used for strategic planning in organizations across various sectors. Some specific use cases include:

  1. Business Planning: Companies use the Hoshin Kanri matrix for setting and tracking strategic objectives, breaking them down into actionable projects, and aligning the entire organization towards these goals.
  2. Quality Improvement: In healthcare or manufacturing sectors, the matrix can help in focusing resources on critical quality improvements, tracking progress, and maintaining alignment across various departments.
  3. Project Management: It can be utilized to clarify project objectives, key measures of success, and required actions or initiatives.

How to Build a Hoshin Matrix

Creating a Hoshin Kanri matrix involves several steps:

  1. Define Long-term Objectives: Identify the overarching strategic goals of your organization for the next 3-5 years.
  2. Define Annual Objectives: Break down the long-term objectives into specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) annual goals.
  3. Identify Measures and Targets: Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to assess progress towards each annual objective. Also, establish specific targets for these measures.
  4. Plan Initiatives: For each annual objective, plan the initiatives or activities that must be undertaken to achieve the goal.
  5. Assign Responsibility: Each initiative should have a responsible individual or team attached to it.
  6. Build the Matrix: Fill the Hoshin Kanri matrix with the information identified in the previous steps. The long-term and annual objectives are typically listed vertically down the left-hand side, the measures and targets are placed next to the corresponding objective, and the initiatives and responsible individuals are listed on the right.

How to Use a Hoshin Matrix

Using a Hoshin Kanri matrix involves a cyclical process:

  1. Communicate the Plan: Once the matrix is complete, it should be communicated to all members of the organization. Everyone should understand the strategic objectives, how their work contributes to these objectives, and how progress will be measured.
  2. Monitor Progress: Regularly check progress against the KPIs and targets specified in the matrix. This could be done monthly or quarterly depending on the nature of your initiatives.
  3. Adjust as Needed: If the organization is not making adequate progress towards an objective, revisit the corresponding initiatives. You may need to change the approach or reallocate resources.
  4. Review and Update Annually: At least once a year, review the entire matrix. The long-term objectives may stay the same, but the annual objectives, measures, targets, and initiatives will likely need updating.

The Hoshin Kanri matrix is a powerful tool that can be used to align an entire organization towards strategic objectives. By breaking down long-term goals into actionable initiatives, it helps to ensure that all team members understand their role in achieving the broader strategic objectives.

Hoshin Kanri Matrix

Long-term Objectives Annual Objectives Measures Targets Initiatives
Objective 1 Annual Objective 1 Measure 1 Target 1 Initiative 1