Affinity Diagram/Chart


The Affinity Diagram or Chart is a method for organising the information and data in a more useful and instructive way.


Often at the beginning stages of an improvement effort, information is disorganised, ambiguous and chaotic. There are complaints and anecdotes, little data, and little of help, insufficient even to define what is the problem or need.

The affinity chart is a way to begin to bring order out of chaos. It is one of the most intuitive of the improvement methods. Constructing an affinity chart involves several stages of group activity:

Note: The Japanese also call the Affinity Chart the K-J Diagram and it is one of the seven management tools.

An example of an affinity chart

Theme: What is going wrong in our volunteer organisation?


Declining revenues

Eroding nest egg

Two more years worth of finances left


Few volunteers for leadership roles

Same group every year



Membership getting older

Membership declining

No diversity in membership


Nothing new to do

Resistance to change



Need a purpose

We need to get out more

Do community service

Why do we exist as a group?

Material needs

Need a VCR

Need new furniture

Meeting place needs refurbishing


We need more liveliness

We need new blood

We need a spark

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