Seven New Management and Planning Tools

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Japanese professor Kaoru Ishikawa originally developed the seven quality tools. These quality tools were simple to use and can be applied by anyone in the organization to improve a process.

Later, these seven new quality tools were used to plan the quality improvement process. These tools are called the seven advanced quality tools or seven management and planning tools. These include:

1. Affinity diagrams 

2. Tree diagrams

3. Process decision program charts (PDPC)

4. Matrix diagrams

5. Interrelationship digraphs

6. Prioritization matrices

7. Activity network diagrams

This post will look at the high-level overview of these seven tools.

1. Affinity diagrams

An affinity diagram is used along with the brainstorming. It is used to organize large amounts of poorly organized or unorganized data into groups that reflect natural relationships. This tool can help you identify patterns in the data.

2. Tree Diagrams

A tree diagram is usually used to break down complex concepts or broad categories into smaller parts, making them easier to understand. A tree diagram shows a hierarchical structure of ideas. It helps organize information into categories.

3. Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC)

PDPC is used to identify what may go wrong in a new plan. This tool is somewhat similar to FMEA. You start with a tree diagram to break down the objective into tasks. Draw the next level as what could go wrong, and at the end, the countermeasures to address issues.

Then draw another layer above it to show how things get to the root cause. The PDPC helps you determine where the problems lie and why they occur. It also enables you to determine if an issue has been identified correctly.

4. Matrix Diagram

A matrix diagram is a tool that helps you to analyze your data. This tool allows you to compare two or more sets of information. It gives visual representations of comparisons between different parameters, such as costs vs. benefits.

The types of matrices include: L- shaped, T–shaped,  Y-shaped,  X-shaped, C–shaped, and Roof shaped matrices.

5. Interrelationship Digraph or Interrelationship Diagram

The interrelationship digraph is a graphical representation of the interdependencies among activities. It shows the dependencies between the activities.

An interrelation­ship graph shows the cause-and-effect relationship among various factors involved in an issue. It helps analysts understand why certain things happen.

6. Prioritizing Matrices

Prioritizing matrix is an L-shaped matrix that helps to prioritize the project based on its importance. It is used to compare various choices.

7. Activity Network Diagram (also known as Arrow Diagram)

An activity network diagram is a tool that visualizes all the activities involved in a particular project. It represents the relationships between the different activities. Each box represents an activity, and the arrows represent the flow.

Activity Network Diagrams manage a number of tasks in a sequence and identify bottlenecks or the critical path in the project execution.


These seven management and planning tools help us explore our data and make better decisions. We use them to visualize, sort, group and analyze our data. They provide some insights into whether we need to change our planning process. They help us identify the most critical areas to focus on.

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