What is an Affinity Diagram?
Jaap de Jonge, Management Consultant, Netherlands
The affinity diagram is a business tool used to organize ideas and data. This tool takes large amounts of disorganized data and information and enables one to organize it into groupings based on natural relationships. It was created in the 1960s by Japanese anthropologist Jiro Kawakita. It's also known as KJ Diagram
The tool is used in project management and brainstorming and allows large numbers of ideas stemming to be sorted into groups for review and analysis.
Affinity diagram process:
1. Conduct a brainstorming meeting
2. Record each idea on cards or post-it-notes
3. Gather (glue) the post it notes / cards into a single place (e.g. a desk or wall)
4. Look for ideas that seem to be related
5. Sort cards into groups based on the teams thoughts until all cards have been used and the team is happy with the results.
6. Name each group with a description and write the name at the top of each group.
7. Once the cards have been sorted into groups the team may discuss the groups and how they are related and sort clusters into subgroups for easier management and analysis.