A voting method to take a large list of ideas and scope them down into a more manageable range. The number of ideas is N and this is divided by 3, giving each person that number of votes. For example, if there were 33 ideas, N/3 = 11 and each person would vote for their top 11 ideas.


Doing more than one task in a single motion or function. A method of combining manual work sequences to flow smoothly or to combine machine motions. Nagara is a Japanese for "while doing something".


The process of developing consensus or agreement to an idea through informal discussion and gathering input from stakeholders. Nemawashi for a proposal may involve sharing the initial plan with stakeholders to get their input, identify concerns, address resistance, make necessary adjustments, and align the proposed changes with other priorities in the organization. The term comes from a Japanese expression for preparing the ground and the roots of a tree for replanting in a new location.

Nominal Data

A type of qualitative data that contains a set of possible values that has no measurable sequence to them.


A failure of a process, service or product to meet a specified customer requirement.

Non Value-Added

Activities that add cost but don't add value in the eyes of the customer, but cannot be currently eliminated without causing harm. Examples include inspection, packaging, recordkeeping, regulatory compliance etc.

Normality Test

A statistical process used to determine whether a sample or any group of data fits a standard normal distribution. Normality tests can be performed mathematically or graphically.

Normal Distribution

An arrangement of data set wherein most of the observations cluster around the central peak, with the probabilities for values further away from the mean tapering off equally in both directions.

North Star


Abbreviation for new product introduction. The overlap between the latest stage of product development and the earliest stage of volume production.

nP Chart

An attributes control chart used with data collected in subgroups that are the same size. Np-charts show how the process, as measured by the number of nonconforming items it produces, changes over time. Its process attributes or characteristics are always described as o/no go, yes/no or pass/fail.

Null Hypothesis

Abbreviated H0, this is a stated assumption that there is no difference in parameters for two or more populations. Contrast with Alternate Hypothesis