Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri is a tool that is used for strategic planning and policy deployment. Hoshin Kanri is a Japanese strategic planning method that has been used since the 1960s. Hoshin is defined as "the direction of a needle," much like a compass and Kanri is defined as "controlled logic or controlled reasoning." The Hoshin Kanri planning tool creates a clear and unifying strategic plan that focuses on fundamentals while creating opportunities for breakthrough initiatives.


  • To create a strategic plan for any organization or group;
  • To coordinate activities that promote and sustain the mission and vision of the organization or group;
  • To set a longer-term vision for the organization or group;
  • To show linkages between short-term action items and long-term vision;
  • To identify which projects or initiatives should be done first.


  • Perform an environmental scan;
  • Perform a SWOT (Internal Strengths and Weaknesses, External Opportunities and Threats) analysis;
  • Using everyone in the organization or group, brainstorm and list ideas based on the following question: "It is five years in the future and your organization or group is very successful, what does this look like?";
  • Group like-ideas from the brainstorming session and give the like-ideas a specific group name;
  • Perform a gap analysis on the grouped ideas and identify drivers, means and outcomes;
  • Review your vision and mission statement;
  • Fill out the X-matrix by listing strategic initiatives, focus strategies, initiatives & projects, targets & metrics and the key players;
  • Perform "catchball" - a group brainstorming exercise - to create implementation plans;
  • Communicate implementation strategy

Take a look at an example of a Hoshin Kanri template

Check out an example of an X-Matrix.


The Quality Management and Continuous Improvement Professional Specialty Group currently uses this tool in several regions.  The group used the Hoshin Kanri tool to create a strategic plan that is used to develop both short-term and long-term projects.  All short-term and long-term projects are tracked to ensure that each project promotes and leads to the overall mission and vision of the group. 

Subject Ambassador:

Glenn Campbell - Alaska Fisheries Science Center: glenn.campbell@noaa.gov

Last updated by on June 13, 2018