Turning Data into Learning Strategy

It’s human nature for employees working through the diagnostic process, on a given project, to want to rush ahead and jump to solutions. It’s natural to try to arrive at conclusions intuitively, but while intuition, experience and opinions from team members have their place, there needs to be discipline around the process in order to have objective outcomes.

Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) has a signature process for project governance that goes from data collection to gaining insights and defining data-driven interventions. Assembling the right resources and expectations is the very first step in our diagnostic process. Team leaders must establish a solid business case. Key stakeholders must be on board or the project goes nowhere. There is a need to balance internal and external views, develop a clear problem statement with the right metrics and analytics, and have a vision for the future of the project.

Raytheon Six Sigma provides the discipline for project governance for the work we do with clients around the globe – especially as it pertains to building a learning strategy.

At the start of the process, there are a few key steps to take – to ensure discipline and success.

Data Collection

Determining data collection requires the team to consider a number of things — current and future business needs and goals; significant gaps and risks to the program; the current metrics and performance measures; and customer satisfaction. Performance analytics uncover insights and reveal hidden value to define new, targeted learning interventions.

The team needs to agree on common units of measure, define a data collection process and establish a data repository to house the database for analysis work.

Define Current & Future State

It is imperative to define the current state of the project and the “to bestate. Team members do a better job of evaluating current state when they know what an ideal state or a world-class state is capable of doing: It’s the difference between fixing a broken system versus creating a system that excels.

Subject matter experts play a key role. Interviewing the users provides key information and additional data to build a visual view of the process. This helps identify the bottlenecks and constraints of each value stream, and the prioritization of undesired effects (UDEs) and desired effects based on data.

Causal Analysis

A causal analysis identifies leading causes of the current symptoms, UDEs and to validate these assumptions using data. Again, SMEs can provide intimate knowledge of causes and effects.

The team applies various models to peel back the surface effects and discover the real root causes. A validation of the factors is conducted leveraging the data collected in the current state phase and a prioritized list of leading or contributing causes is developed.

Data Synthesis

The use of a leverage matrix determines the impact of the cause on the effects. Quantitative values for each relationship are weighted and a forced ranking of the causes will be in a Pareto chart.

Multiple UDEs affected by one cause create a leverage point for improvement. There is often an “aha moment” occurring among the SMEs when you allow the data to lead them to a new perspective.

Opportunity Statement

The team, at this point, begins to explore innovative solutions from every member. Outside-of-the-box ideas should be encouraged to generate creative solutions for alternative process adaptations, improvements and solutions. This could evolve into solutions for a process that might be decades old. Each improvement theme then will be evaluated for feasibility and practical implementation via the Opportunity Statement process.


The benefits achieved through the process are prioritized based on return on invested capital and the value to the customer. The team must ensure there is a compelling case of action aligned to the business case, present it in the language of leadership and have the metrics to back up the plan.

There is now a long checklist of achieved goals to make a strong case for the project. The benefits are impact to customer satisfaction, financial performance, key performance indicators; individual, team and organizational behaviors; cultural behavior shift; growth opportunities; innovation, productivity and efficiency.