Critical to X. Photo by Scott Ogle
Photo by Scott Ogle

Critical to X requirements are elements of a project that are important to the end customer.

As an example, think about going to buy a burger. There are several factors that you probably won’t think about much when ordering. However, you simply expect them in your order:

  • Quality: You expect an edible, tasty burger.
  • Cost: You expect to pay a certain amount for your burger.
  • Delivery: You expect to receive that burger fairly quickly.
  • Safety: You expect that the end result will not give you food poisoning.

These are all CTX requirements.

Types of CTX Requirements

Five labelled circles. Critical to X is surrounded by Critical to Quality, Critical to Cost, Critical to Delivery, and Critical to Safety.
Image: The factors of Critical to X requirements

These vary a bit in terminology depending on whose articles you read. Some bring in Critical to Process requirements, or leave out Critical to Safety. You’ll also find that sometimes, discussions of CTX requirements waver between focusing on the customer and focusing on the workplace. Understandable, but it leads to some loss of customer orientation, which is very important in these requirements.

There are four basic CTX factors:

Critical to X and Six Sigma

Six Sigma projects can aim at improving any of the CTX requirements. For example, a project might improve a process and decrease the end cost of a product by 10%. Hence, it would meet a Critical to Cost requirement. Or, it might focus on finding a new supplier for a key material, decreasing costs of production. As a result, it could also decrease the price of the end product, again meeting a CTC requirement.

Keep in mind that these are customer centric requirements. That means you need to be able to show a clear benefit to the customer. This includes any project that is supposed to address CTX requirements.

Other helpful Critical to X Links


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