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Affinity Diagram


To organize large sets of items (more than twenty items) into smaller sets of related items


  1. The rules of brainstorming are followed but each idea is written (in seven words or less using a verb and a noun) on self-adhesive Post-it note or card.
  2. After all the ideas have been generated and entered on the Post-its, post all the Post-its on a wall or board. Discuss the Post-its to check if there are any questions about what any of the Post-its say or mean.
  3. Team members now silently move the Post-it cards around, grouping cards which are related or similar (have affinity) together.
  4. If disagreement exists when grouping, make copies of the contested card and place in more than one group.
  5. When the grouping has stopped, discuss each grouping to determine what it is that relates to all the cards. Write a header card for each group which captures the theme and concept of the cards.
  6. If there are single idea cards that do not fit well with any header, have the team decide if they should be kept.

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