Part 3: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Affinity Diagram

(If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

In our next section, we want to further dissect our 4m.  Usually when you make a 4m, you will often have several “like” ideas within the different M’s.  For example, you may have a an issue listed under Man which states “Sales staff don’t often know the cutoff quantities for the various discount levels during discussions with the customer”, and you may have similar issue under Materials which states “Management hasn’t provided updated breakdown tables for discounts on the various product families”.  To that, you may want to bind those two ideas into one single category called “Discount Training & Documentation”.

We do this with an Affinity Diagram.  In StreamWork, we again use a simple table where we can lump these “like” issues together from the 4m, then give it a “category” that encapsulates the general idea or topic.

To add our Affinity Diagram to the template, we again use the “Add Tool” button, and select “Table”.

The table will again pop up to the top.  No worries, we can use the “Move To Bottom” button to put it at the bottom of the canvas.

Now, we will title the table “Affinity Diagram – Categorize Your 4m”, and leave 2 columns – “Category” and “Items From 4m”.  (Note:  We usually leave 8 rows, and in the instructions, we try to “limit” the number of categories to no more than 8.  We feel this is best-practices when categorizing your 4m.)

Next we have to remember to give our Affinity Diagram some accountability, so again we will build an Action Item to have someone fill it out.  (Remember to make it unassigned for now)

Finally, we will add our instructions into the About tab.

That wraps up our Affinity Diagram.  We can now move onto the next section, and define a Relationship Diagram to help the team identify the Drivers and Outcomes in relation to these newly defined categories.  Click here to read the next part.