Matrix Diagrams

A Matrix Diagram will help you to identify and analyse the presence and strength of relationships between two sets of information. It is of particular interest as far as service improvement is concerned when it is used to compare the relationship between patient requirements and the work processes that deliver those requirements.

An example of how to build a Matrix Diagram

A restaurant wanted to improve the service to its customers.

As they were following our service improvement framework, they spent some time clarifying value in the eyes of the customer (they asked them). As a consequence they discovered that the following things were important to their customers:

They then set about identifying all of the processes carried out in their restaurant and produced this list:

Armed with this information they were able to draw matrix with customer requirements across the top and work processes down the side.

They wanted to know which work processes affected which customer requirements, to see if any of the work processes were a particular priority for improvement. To help them do this they put some symbols onto the Matrix Diagram as shown below.

Matrix diagram here

Wherever they considered that a process affected a customer requirement they placed a symbol to show whether there was a strong, medium or weak relationship.

As ‘waiting on tables’ affected the most customer requirements, and as it also had a strong effect on two of those requirements, they decided that this process was their priority for improvement. They then also knew which processes they needed to improve to satisfy any particular customer requirement.

You may consider that some patient requirements are more important than others. If so, you can assign a numerical weighting to each patient requirement and you can assign weightings of 1, 2, and 3 to the weak, medium and strong symbols. When your Matrix Diagram is complete simply multiply these weightings together to produce a total for each process. In this way you can identify which processes are the real priorities for improvement.

A Matrix Diagram can also be used to identify who needs to be involved in a project, and to what extent. To do this, just put all of the possible departments or functions that could be involved in the project on one axis and all of the tasks that need to be done to complete the project on the other axis. Where there is a relationship between the two, i.e. where a department or function has a responsibility for a task, draw a symbol. In this case the symbols would be used to show whether there is a primary responsibility, a secondary responsibility, or if that department or function should just be kept informed about the task.

Related Documents

An example of a Matrix Diagram [doc / 496KB]