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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Operational Definitions

for consistent data

Why and when to use your

Operational Definitions template

One of the most costly mistakes that you can make in a lean six sigma project is when Jack collects data one way, and Jill interprets it another way.

Use your Operational Definitions template (Op_Def.xlsx) to ensure that everyone collects and interprets data in a consistent way.

Your team leader might make use of your Operational Definitions template when using many of your other Lean Six Sigma tools, such as...


How to use your

Operational Definitions template

Find and open your template

Find and open your Operational Definitions template


in the same way that you find and open your other 150+ Systems2win templates.

Excel Ribbon bar > Systems2win menu

Save your working document

following the usual document storage and naming conventions established by your leaders

Open a Blank Sheet

When you're ready to start doing your own real work...

click the button to 'Open a Blank Sheet'

Excel Ribbon bar > Systems2win tab > Open a Blank Sheet

This blank sheet is where you will do your real work

(not on the Sample sheet — which gives you sample data that is extremely helpful for learning how to use your new tool, but is the wrong place to do your real work)

Systems2win menu > Open a Blank Sheet

Rename your new sheet

Or... Insert Sheet

As an alternative to opening a stand-alone document (as instructed above), you also have the option to Insert Sheet into any other Excel workbook.

If English is not your preferred language

Switch to your language, just like every Systems2win Excel template.

Now your team is ready to start defining your

Operational Definitions

Step 1) Succinctly define what we are trying to measure

Often, this wording will be identical to the wording found in the Metrics in the Measurement Assessment Tree.

Step 2) List the Stratification Factors

List chosen Stratification Factors from the Measurement Assessment Tree.

Note: There might be a separate row for each Stratification Factor in addition to a row defining the primary Y output(s) being measured.

Measurement Assessment Tree

Step 3) Provide a clear and concise Operational Definition of the measure

Exactly what constitutes a defect?

Step 4) Define what the measure isn't

It is often helpful to clear up common questions by being clear about what the measure is not.

Step 5) Describe how to take the measurement

Describe exactly how to go about taking the measurement.

Be precise.

For lengthy instructions, you can optionally use a link icon, or Right-click > Insert Comment.

Operational Definitions template

You'll get a lot more out of this training if you have your template open in front of you

See the example on the Sample sheet

Step 6) Create data collection forms and mistake-proofing aids

And complete the rest of the columns as explained in the sample data.

Step 7) Test

Have people who were not involved in writing the Operational Definitions use them to collect data.

Observe, and notice sources of confusion.

Step 8) Improve the Operational Definition

Improve based on feedback and observations.

This Operational Definitions template comes with many other useful Lean Six Sigma tools



to empower every team member to improve every process

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Six Sigma templates

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to Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control
the quality of ANY process



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