Skip to main content

Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Cause and Effect Matrix

Cause and Effect template using familiar Microsoft Excel

Cause and Effect template

Purpose: to identify what your customers care about

To identify the few process input variables that provide the greatest opportunity to improve the process outputs that your customers care about most

This simple Six Sigma tool answers the same questions as the (also easy to use) Measurement Selection Matrix, and the (much more thorough) QFD House of Quality template

"What should we measure — that our customers care about?"


"Where should we focus our attention — to give our customers the most satisfaction for an acceptable cost?"

Introduction to QFD
& Cause and Effect Matrix

Cause and Effect Matrix template

Sample Cause and Effect Matrix example

How to use your

Cause & Effect Matrix template

Find and open your template

Find and open your Cause and Effect Matrix 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 > 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 BlankSheet

Rename your new sheet.

If English is not your preferred language

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

Now your team is ready to start using your

Cause and Effect Matrix

Step 1) Identify key customer requirements (process outputs)

Use 'Voice of the Customer' worksheets to identify KEY requirements.

Usually, you will work with less than 7 key requirements.

Hide unused columns.


Is it your job to put out fires?
or to prevent them?

Step 2) Rate importance to customer

If you use a scale other than the usual 1-10 scale, edit the text box to explain your rating scale. (Whole numbers only)

Important: The Pareto Chart won't work without ALL data entered — including 'Importance to Customer'

Step 3) Enter the process inputs (steps)

Copy your As Is worksheet to serve as the starting point for your To Be version.

Step 4) Enter correlations

Enter your team's rating of correlations between inputs and outputs

Optionally use the text box to explain your team's rating scale.

In version 12 and lower, you need to click the 'Pareto Refresh' button

In version 13, this is no longer needed.

Step 5) Focus your attention

to improve the processes with the highest total scores

These are the inputs with the most potential for making improvements that your customers care most about.

Allow people time to think, ponder, and reflect, and encourage them to return (again and again) to the Hansei questions to stimulate Lean Thinking.

Time to reflect

How to Add and Move Rows

You can add as many rows as you need above the bottom thin gold line.

Don't just 'Insert Rows'

To add rows, use the 'Add Rows' button in the Systems2win menu in the Excel Ribbon bar.

and to Copy or Move rows, use use Insert Copied Cells and Insert Cut Cells (see training video)

If you haven't already...

watch this training video to learn the most important Excel skills that you will ever learn

Excel training video
Add, Copy, or Move rows

testimonial quote



This Cause and Effect Matrix template comes with many other useful Six Sigma tools, and tools for Design for Six Sigma





New User Training

Your Systems2win templates come with free New User Training
to quickly learn features that are common to all 150+ templates







homemade tools

Home-made vs.
professional tools...

What differences?



Own Yours Now

Own your own professional tools
that you can take with you for the rest of your career