The seven management and planning tools have their roots in operations research work done after World War II and in Japanese Total Quality Control (TQC) research. In 1979, the book Seven New Quality Tools for Managers and Staff was published and was translated into English by Bob King, QOAL/PQC in 1983. The seven tools include:
- affinity diagram: Takes large amounts of disorganized data and information and enables one to organize it into groupings based on natural relationships. See modified affinity diagram.
- interrelationship diagraph (ID): Displays all the interrelated cause-and-effect relationships and factors involved in a complex problem and describes desired outcomes. The process of creating an interrelationship diagraph helps a group analyze the natural links between different aspects of a complex situation.
- tree diagram: Breaks down broad categories into finer levels of detail. It can map levels of details of tasks that are required to accomplish a goal or activity. Developing the tree diagram helps one move their thinking from generalities to specifics.
- prioritization matrix: Prioritizes items and describes them in terms of weighted criteria. It uses a combination of tree and matrix diagramming techniques to do a pair-wise evaluation of items and to narrow down options to the most desired or most effective.
- matrix diagram: Shows the relationship between items. At each intersection, a relationship is either absent or present. It then gives information about the relationship, such as its strength, the roles played by various individuals, or measurements. Six differently shaped matrices are possible: L, T, Y, X, C and roof-shaped, depending on how many groups must be compared.
- process decision program chart (PDPC): A useful way of planning is to break down tasks into a hierarchy using a tree diagram. The PDPC extends the tree diagram a couple of levels to identify risks and countermeasures for the bottom level tasks. Different shaped boxes are used to highlight risks and identify possible countermeasures (often shown as ‘clouds’ to indicate their uncertain nature). The PDPC is similar to the failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) in that both identify risks, consequences of failure, and contingency actions; the FMEA also rates relative risk levels for each potential failure point.
- activity network diagram: Plans the appropriate sequence or schedule for a set of tasks and related subtasks. It is used when subtasks can or must occur in parallel. The diagram enables one to determine the critical path (longest sequence of tasks).