A quality function deployment chart helps you improve an existing process by focusing your attention on efforts that result in the best outcome. To create this chart, you identify requirements, prioritize needs and set expectations. Free online templates enable you to visualize the process quickly and make adjustments, or you can simply create a spreadsheet with your data. Business professionals using the Six Sigma methodology make use of QFD charts.
Creating a list of your requirements allows you to examine your process in detail. For each item you define, enter an importance value for each stakeholder. Higher numbers have more value than low numbers. List these in a worksheet.
Listing the processes used to meet the customer’s requirements and ensure satisfaction helps you to articulate how things get done. List these in a worksheet, and then create a third worksheet that includes both your requirements down the left side and your processes across the top.
To create a quality function deployment chart, you need to identify the impact that each process has on the customer requirements. You can color code the cells of your worksheet so it is more visually obvious. For example, use red to indicate high impact, yellow for medium impact, green for low impact and blank for no impact. Assign a value of nine for high impact processes, a value of three for medium impact processes and a value of one for low impact processes. You can calculate the relative importance by adding up the values for each process.
Once you have your data displayed in a quality function deployment chart, you can transform customer requirements into product requirements and prioritize what to work on during your project. This strategy allows you to deploy limited resources to best respond to the challenge of meeting the customer needs. Use the results to align the product development team and establish a clear vision. For example, the customer’s requirements for a new product may include being powerful, easy to use and offering differentiating features for similarly priced competitors.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.