Use a CT Tree during a brainstorm session to identify and to organize the inputs that are critical to your customer.
Two of the more common CT trees are Critical To (CT) Quality and Critical To (CT) Cost. On a CT tree, the 'Critical To' characteristic is at the top of the tree. Affinities, which are categories, create the second level of the tree. Inputs extend from the affinities.
A CT Tree answers the following questions.
  • Who are the customers?
  • What are the key drivers of customer satisfaction?
  • What processes have an impact on the key drivers of customer satisfaction?
  • For a particular project, which customers are affected and how?


  1. The CT Tree is a team tool. Include customers on the team whenever possible.
  2. Determine the primary drivers of customer satisfaction.
    • If you evaluate critical-to-quality measures, list only the key drivers for quality.
    • If you evaluate critical-to-cost measures, list only the key drivers for cost.
  3. Link the key drivers of customer satisfaction to the process.
  4. Record the drivers and links to the process.

You can quickly brainstorm ideas in the brainstorming list, then drag them to the diagram to create associations between related ideas. For more information, go to Generate a brainstorm list.

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