Affinity Diagrams – A Process For Organizing Your Thoughts For Improvement

Posted by on Nov 3, 2019 in Continuous Improvement, Decision Making, Quality Tools | 0 comments

Affinity diagrams are a useful in that they can help you organize your thoughts and develop action plans when you are overwhelmed with many problems and not sure where to start.  They are also useful when issues seem too large and complex to grasp or when group consensus is needed to take action.  They can also be used when you need to analyze verbal data such as survey results and can help to reduce attributes to categories.


You begin by brainstorming or thinking about all the problems you’re currently faced with without trying to prioritize them, but just identifying them and putting them on paper.  This can be done most effectively when a team of people get together and brainstorm all the issues they face.  Each team member can write their ideas on sticky notes and place them on a white board or table.  Let’s say team identifies the following problems:


When faced with many issues it can be difficult to even know where to start, but let’s not shortcut the process.  The next step is to organize the issues, put them into groups and give each group a heading.  Taking the issues above, we can place them into the following groups.


Now that we have the problems sorted into categories it becomes easier for the team to discuss the groups  and the ideas or issues within each group.  Groups and ideas can be prioritized, an owner assigned to each group and action plans developed for improvement.


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