An affinity diagram is a tool used in project management to organize a large amount of ideas and data which are often results after brainstorming. Developed by Jiro Kawakita in 1960, this tool is also called the KJ Method and it works by taking series of facts, data and ideas under a particular theme and organizing them into different clusters based on their affinity or relationship with one another.
This particular method is a great way to create mind maps and it is used to sort an unorganized list to stimulate the creation of a general idea. This method helps create clarity during the thought processes thereby creating novel patterns of thinking.
So how does the affinity diagram work? To simply explain how affinity diagram works, you get different stakeholders involved in a particular problem and provide them with colored papers or post-its which serve as “atoms” where they put ideas that will arise during the brainstorming. The colored papers will then be assembled into different groupings for easy analysis.
This project management term is a great way to generate data allows seemingly different yet natural patterns to emerge thus making it easier for you to organize and create solutions to a particular problem.
This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.