7 Management and Planning Tools

The 7 management and planning tools were developed as new quality control tools in the 1970’s to help improve the outcomes of major projects. Each of the 7 management and planning tools help drive better decisions because the help achieve consensus between various factions engaged in big projects together. They include:

  1. Affinity diagram:Takes large amounts of data and information and organizes it into groupings based on natural relationships.
  2. Interrelationship diagram: Graphically depicts the cause-and-effect relationships between various factors in a complex situation and helps define natural links.
  3. Tree diagram: Breaks down broad categories into finer and finer levels of detail. Developing a tree diagram helps one move their thinking from generalities to specifics.
  4. Prioritization matrix: Sorts and ranks items into order of importance using weighted criteria that help determine a numeric priority.
  5. Matrix diagram: Shows the relationship between two or more items in a table format by showing whether a relationship is present at each intersection. It then gives information about the relationship, such as its strength, the roles played by various individuals, or measurements.
  6. Process decision program chart (PDPC): Used for documenting the steps required to complete a process by breaking down tasks into hierarchies and identifying things that could go wrong. PDPC enables users to account for these potential failures and establish appropriate contingency plans.
  7. Activity network diagram (AND): Depicts the sequence of a project’s activities and any dependencies those activities may have with each other. AND shows what activities that must be completed before other activities can start (in series), and which can be performed at the same time (in parallel).

Notice that the 7 management and planning tools are all designed to show and deal with the the complexity of decision-making when multiple entities are involved. For example, Affinity Diagram does take large amounts of data, but the data is often subjective input from individuals involved in the project – often from different functions. The Prioritization matrix – often referred to as Impact Difficulty Matrix, often uses objective criteria – such as cost – but the inputs are often subjective estimates.

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