Critical to Quality to Quality (CTQ) trees are measurable characteristics of a product or service that allow us to understand what drives quality from the perspective of consumers. In order words, CTQ trees are predetermined performance standards that must be met in order for the consumers to be satisfied with the product or service in question.

Critical to Quality (CTQ) trees are diagram-based tools that aim to transform the consumer needs into measurable and actionable performance standards.  For easier understanding, we can break the process of creating Critical to Quality (CTQ) trees into three steps.

Step 1: Identify the needs of consumers

The first step to creating a CTQ tree is to identify and assess the broad consumer needs. This is what your product or service must have in order to deliver customer satisfaction. What do consumers want? Is it already available in the market? What need does it satisfy? These are all some examples of questions that need to be asked in order to understand your consumer base and the market requirements.  For instance, a goal here might be to “enhance customer service”.

Step 2: Identify quality drivers

The next step to the process is to identify the quality drivers of a certain goal. For instance, “enhanced customer service” must be broken down into more specific goals in order to make sense; such as “improve customer service response time”, “introduce chats”, “enhance mobile user experience”, and so on. At this point, you are being more specific about what you need to complete in order to achieve your goal and satisfy the end consumer. Speaking to your team members that have direct customer contact, such as the sales department, can be very useful to gain important insights about your target consumers.

Step 3: Identify measurable performance requirements

Having identified the quality drivers, you can then proceed to map the performance requirements that must be satisfied. This is the last step of the process, at which point you need to identify what performance requirements each of your drivers must satisfy. For instance, the measurable requirement for driver “enhance mobile user experience” could be “must display well on browsers” or “must adjust graphics to display well on mobile devices”. Here, you need to keep in mind that your requirements must be actionable, measurable and specific.

Benefits of using Critical to Quality (CTQ) Trees

Critical to Quality (CTQ) Trees can be very beneficial for your organization. The first and primary benefit is that you attempt to see things from the consumers’ perspective, and in turn, satisfy the consumers’ actual needs. By converting the needs and wants of consumers into measurable and actionable performance requirements, you can follow a detailed strategic plan that promises to respond effectively and efficiently to the market.  CTQ Trees is a very easy to use tool and can be applied to different types of markets and industries. It also helps the management and the rest of the team to work on shared goals and objectives – that aim to satisfy the end consumer – through effective planning and detailed action plan.