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One Page Wonder for Project Status

My initial introduction to the "X-Matrix" scared me! It looked overwhelming and seemed like it had way too much information. But it was on one (1) page, yes 1 page I did not have to flip through a binder of pages to find my answer or understand the status.

Since then, my LOVE of the X-Matrix just continues to grow deeper and more passionate.

Let us embark on a journey of the X-Matrix and hopefully i can demystify the complexity and make it less scary. It really does not matter from where you start to prepare your document since all of the areas ultimately are required to correlate. Most important is that this document has a life expectancy of 1 year.

Objectives or Strategic Initiatives - THE GOAL

People go off-site or sit in a room burning a candle and incense to ponder either how to sustain their current business trajectory or how the business model can be enhanced through some initiatives. Ultimately all companies will come with initiatives that can be categorized within one of the following;

  • Profitable Growth

  • Talent Management

  • Asset Management

  • Performance Excellence

  • Safety

So let us list them on the left-hand side of the page.

Projects or Improvement Strategies - HOW ARE GOING TO GET IT DONE

After we understand our goals now, we need to identify projects that we feel are going to deliver the results we desire. We can start listing our agreed upon projects along the top of the page, at this point no need to quantify or budget.

You better have at least one identified project per objective.

Rough Project Plan -WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DO IT

Next to the Projects or Improvement Strategies is a section that will allow you to plot roughly when the project will start and stop.

A couple of warnings!! Typically, as the team emerges from their planning sessions, they are eager to get the projects completed immediately so it becomes important to balance them out during the course of the coming year.

Failing to assign dates will lull the organization that projects will happen on their own at their own pace and as you check on project status you will quickly be sucked into believing that a "Magic Weekend" is going to happen ... NOT !!


A Project with a Plan but no resources assigned just remains a wish! With any assignment you need a project owner. By owner, I mean a person's name, not a department or some governing body ... without a name there is no accountability.

What I like in this chart is that it shows who will be the project lead but also allows you to identify significant resource support.

Once you have completed both the project plan and resource allocation take some time to reflect and ensure that not one party is being overwhelmed with tasks. This is the time to re-balance your job list and I often like to factor in the difficulty and impact against each project to help determine priority.

The Metrics - DID IT DELIVER

There are two (2) places to track your metrics within the X-Matrix. The section of metrics in the middle of the page allows you to measure the impact of the project and is it delivering as promised or do you need to do some project adjustments.

The metric section at the bottom of the page allows you to judge the business as a whole.

Those Left-Hand pesky corners - CONNECT THE DOTS

Some people feel the challenge because a project could impact more than one Objective. Just pick the one that it will impact the most.

Filling in the blanks with Dots quickly shows you how the projects correlate to the Objectives and ultimately the metrics.

The View - HOW TO READ

Yup look at it straight on in landscape mode and you can quickly see the projects and how they are correlated to a metric, this includes when the project should start and who is working on it.

Turn the page 90 degrees clockwise and you can see the critical objectives and project metrics.

Do you love it now? Your business plan condensed onto one page including a project plan and resource deployment. I typically review the X-Matrix during our monthly Senior Lead Team Meeting. Often, I have a project broken down with additional granularity using the A3 methodology.

Still struggling, contact me for additional coaching and mentorship.



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