It’s one of the best methods to learn to start working differently.
I’ve used it thousands of times to create clarity and structure. I could use it everyday with one of my teams. Yet I still forget to summon it regularly when I’m working on a new project.
In its most basic form, an affinity diagram works like this:
- Brainstorm a list of items in response to a question or topic.
- Sort them into “affinity” groups — items that are like each other (hence, the title of the method).
- Label those groups with a category name.
What you're left with is a clear, organized understanding of the subject at hand. And it works on any list of items.