The seven management tools

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The seven management and planning tools are used in isolation or in an integrated fashion, are designed to improve planning and implementation, it may require more time during the planning stage, and it is intended to save time later as a result of better planning.

The Seven Management tools are the following;

  • The Affinity Diagram
  • The Inter-Relationship Digraph
  • The Tree Diagram
  • The Activity Network Diagram
  • Prioritization Matrices
  • The Matrix Diagram
  • The Process Decision Program Chart


The origin of the affinity diagram can be traced to a data analysis technique called the KJ Method, developed by Kawakita Jiro. The affinity diagram is largely a creative brainstorming process in which consensus is reached by visual (written) rather than verbal means. The affinity diagram can also be used as a management and planning tool that can help with the systematic analysis of large amounts of data. It is best used for translating large amounts of complex, apparently unrelated information, into natural and meaningful groupings of data.

Grouping related items helps to identify underlying relationships that tie ideas together. Clues about potential strategies for overall problem solving are revealed that can help discover new a structural pattern in performance improvement relationships.This tool organizes language data. Once brainstormed ideas are written on cards, they are grouped together with similar ideas (affinities) a header card is created which captures the meaning of each group of ideas. This is a creative, “right brain”, activity. In order to dilute the power of institutionalized ways of thinking about a perceived problem, the affinity diagramming process encourages a group to step outside their logical perceptions and apply their professional intuition. This process is also an effective method to use to generate a large number of ideas in a brief period of time.

1.1 Advantages of Affinity Diagram

  • A team can generate a large number of ideas in a relatively short period of time.
  • Encourages participation because every person's ideas find their way into the process.
  • Encourages ‘new' thinking when only ‘old' solutions are emerging from a group.
  • Facilitates the exploration of new and logical thought patterns by encouraging people to react from a creative response level rather than the intellectual and logical levels.
  • An effective way to deal with large and complex issues which may be ‘paralyzing' the brainstorming of a team.
  • Consensus and support are reached on a solution because all participants have ‘ownership' in the process.

1.2 When to use an Affinity Diagram

  • defining the nature of a problem or opportunity or bringing out hidden problems or opportunities
  • helping to organize and order fuzzy ideas
  • showing the proper direction to take in solving problems or meeting opportunities
  • It is used whe the chaos exists;
  • Broad issues / themes must be identified.

1.3 Constructing an Affinity Diagram

  • Assemble the right team: Four to six people with varied perspectives who are creative and open-minded.
  • Phrase issue to be considered: A clearly stated, yet broad, neutral statement which is well understood.
  • Generate & record ideas: Follow brainstorming rules & records each idea on cards and flip chart with no one word cards.
  • Randomly lay out completed cards: On a table, wall, or flip chart;
  • Sort cards into related groupings: Quickly & in silence based on gut reactions. If you disagree - move cards, do not discuss.
  • Create the header cards: These should be concise, but complete with no one word headers - they should make sense as stand-alones. This should capture the essential link in all ideas beneath it as well as what the cards are saying about that link. Place these at the top of each grouping and turn sub themes into sub headers.
  • Draw the finished affinity diagram: Draw lines connecting headers and sub headers with all the cards beneath them. Bring together all the related groupings and then begin review of the diagram by team members and important “non- team members”.

1.4 Affinity Diagram: Construction/Interpretation Tips

  • Keep the team small;
  • Make sure that ideas are clarified, not criticized during brainstorming;
  • Avoid one word cards - they are often ambiguous & cliché;
  • Write clearly - large letters - use felt tip points if possible;
  • Use flip chart to keep ideas visible as they are recorded on cards;
  • When possible, the statement should have both a noun & verb;
  • Don't agonize over sorting;
  • Enforce the silence rule during sorting - discussion is allowed when header cards are created;
  • Keep the process moving -- prevent stagnation.
  • The “final” product should be reviewed by others and modified as needed.


Interrelationship Digraph follows the Affinity and identifies the primary issues based on root causes. “It separates the vital few from the trivial many.” An interrelationship digraph is a visual display that maps out the cause and effect links among complex, multivariable problems or desired outcomes.

2.1 When to use an Interrelationship Digraph

The tool is exceptionally adaptable to both specific operations issues as well as to general organizational questions. It is equally applicable to core work processes (linking clients to resources) as to support processes (developing the capacity to view work through a prevention lens).An issue is sufficiently complex that the interrelationship between and among ideas is difficult to determine, The correct sequencing of management actions is critical, There is a feeling that the problem under discussion is only a symptom, also

  • Root causes must be identified
  • A large number of inter-related issues need to be better defined
  • Scarce resources require focused effort
  • When you need to graphically map out the cause and effect links among all items generated.
  • Identify the issues/causes that are most fundamental among all the related items.

2.2 Constructing an Interrelationship Digraph

  • Identify the areas for which you wish to determine the interrelationships.
  • Clearly display the areas for the entire group to see.
  • Consider the relationship between each of the areas two at a time. For example, if you have 4 areas, consider two at a time, and ask the question, “Which of the two most strongly influences the other?” Draw an arrow between the two that indicates the direction of influence. Recognize that the influence may go both directions, but seek to determine which direction the influence is strongest. Continue to ask this question until all of the pairs have been considered.
  • For each area, count the number of arrows going out and the number of arrows coming it. The area with the most arrows going OUTWARD is the area with the strongest overall influence. It is, therefore, an important area to consider in the planning place - its influential. Likewise, look for the area with the most arrows coming INWARD. This area is the one that is most often on the receiving end of other factors. It also requires special attention to ensure that influences (arrows) coming to the area are coordinated so that the area isn't overwhelmed by competing influences. For example, if front line workers are confronted by conflicting policies, programs and planning efforts, it challenges their ability to translate them into effective daily practices.


It is a way to systematically map out in increasing detail the full range of paths and tasks that need to be accomplished to achieve a primary goal and each related sub goal. It is known as systematic diagram, tree analysis, analytical tree, or hierarchy diagram. It is used to divide different categories into specific and finer levels of detail. The tree diagram development helps us to move generalities to specifics thinking. The tree diagram starts with one item that divide into two or more parts, also each of which branch into two or more parts, and so on. It looks like a tree, with trunk and multiple branches

3.1 When to use a Tree Diagram

  • Broad objectives must be broken down into specific implementation detail
  • All of the implementation options must be explored
  • Assignable tasks must be created
  • It is used when evaluating implementation issues.
  • It is a communication tool, which is a very brief explanation to others.
  • It is used when figure out the major actions require to carry out a solution.
  • It is used when analyzing processes in detail.
  • It is used to identify for the root cause of a problem statement.

3.2 Tree Diagram Procedure

  • The first step to define the goal statement and it must be written on the top.
  • The goal is according to the SMART criteria, like S for Specific, M for Measurable, A for Achievable, R for Realistic and T for timely.
  • Also check that all necessary items are according to the level necessary for of the above level, also check that all items at this level are present, also check that it is sufficient for the above level.
  • The tree will be growing by putting new ideas and each idea must be a goal, problem statement or objective, and for each new idea we have to use the SMART criteria, so with the usage of SMART criteria we can develop the new tier of statements which can show the relationship with the above tier of goal or ideas with the help of arrows.
  • Continue this practice again and again and turn the ideas into subject statement, we must continue this process until we can reach to the fundament elements, and to identify that what are the specific actions that can be carried out.
  • Perform the Necessary check again to the whole diagram, and verify that all the items are sufficient for the objective, and verify that all the items were present and confirm that it is sufficient for the objective to be achieved.

Customer Satisfaction Improvement Plan

Tree Diagram - Detailed Tasks that need to be accomplished


  • Developed by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Also known as the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) or Critical Path Diagram
  • Tool used to control the length of projects
  • Takes into account many aspects of projects: task times, slack times, critical tasks, etc.
  • Designed for research and development-type projects
  • Determines a probability distribution for a project
  • To plan the most appropriate schedule for the completion of any complex task and all of its related subtasks.
  • It determines total implementation time, simultaneous tasks and key subtasks to be monitored.
  • The task is complex
  • The subtasks are familiar with known durations
  • The project is a critical organization target
  • Simultaneous implementation paths must be coordinated
  • There is little margin for error in the completion time

4.1 When to use an Activity Network Diagram

  • Brainstorm ideas of where activity network diagrams could be utilized in your business practices
  • Finding minimum completion times
  • Determining maximum completion times
  • Value of time for each step in the project
  • Assigning specified times for parts of the project
  • Creates a realistic schedule for the company

4.2 Procedure for development

  • All preceding activities must be completed before the project can begin
  • The arrows shows the logical precedence of the project
  • Identify all necessary activities and identify the relationships among them
  • Draw the diagram
  • Estimate each activity time, or node, in the diagram
  • Identify the critical path
  • Study the diagram for milestones and the target dates in the overall project

The Activity Network Diagram


In this seminar report, we discuss about Seven Quality tools and Seven Management Tools, the basic seven come from Kaoru Ishikawa, which is known for “Democratizing Statistics”. The Basic Seven Tools made statistical analysis less complicated for the average person and good Visual Aids make statistical and quality control more comprehendible.

In our seminar report explain briefly the seven quality tools, using a systematic approach we also need to use tools which enable problems to be defined, data to be collected and analyzed, solutions generated and selected and the effectiveness reviewed. Help to identify and priorities problems quickly and more effectively. Simplify the decision making process. Provide simple but powerful tools for use in continuous improvement activity. Provide a vehicle for communicating problems and resolutions throughout the business.

In the second part of our seminar report we briefly describe about the seven management tools, the union of engineers and scientist in 1976 in Japan introduce the tools to communicate information, innovation promotion and to plan the major projects successfully. In the leading organizations, these seven management and planning tools are used throughout the world for making better decisions and implementing with greater success.


  • The Memory Jogger Plus+: Featuring the Seven Management and Planning Tools by Michael Brassard