Affinity Diagram – Kawakita Jiro or KJ Method

An affinity diagram organizes ideas, problems, and solutions into related groups after a brainstorm. It helps categorize and organize a large number of fragmented uncertain information into logical cohesive groups. The goal is to create a limited number of groups. This results in better idea selection or a problem that is better understood.

Typical Uses

Quality managers, project managers, marketing professionals, and anyone who uses brainstorming to generate ideas can use an affinity diagram to distill a large number of ideas to a refined set of related categories. Affinity diagrams are also known as the Kawakita Jiro or KJ method.

How to Conduct Affinity Session

  1. Present the topic or define the problem clearly
  2. Give the team index cards or sticky-notes
  3. Ask them to write an idea or issue per card
  4. Call out the ideas or issues and hang them on the wall
  5. Lead the team to silently sort the ideas or issues into categories
  6. Lead them labeling each group of cards
  7. Eliminate duplicate ideas
  8. Add arrows between items and groups to show significant relationships

Further Information

  • The ideas shouldn’t be discussed until the final affinity diagram is complete
  • Record the actual spoken words when data is verbal (during interviews or observations)
  • The best results tend to be achieved when the exercise is implemented by a cross-functional team

Best Practices

  • Identify the purpose. Begin by deciding what issue or aspect of your business you wish to focus on with your diagram. Place it at the top of the page.
  • Determine groupings. Decide on a logical set of related categories.
  • Determine contributing factors. Make a list of ideas and issues generated by the brainstorm.
  • Organize. Place each factor or idea beneath a category. Try combining duplicate issues to simplify.
  • Analyze and share. Step back and look at the diagram. Analyze with various other coworkers or team members and it should be able to help you make a decision or see things more clearly.

About SmartDraw

SmartDraw allows you to create an Affinity Diagram. This tool is the world’s most popular business graphics software and the first program that makes it possible for ordinary computer users to create presentation-quality business graphics in minutes. Each year more than two million people install and use SmartDraw and the company counts more than half of the members of the Fortune 500 as loyal customers. Founded in 1994, is privately-held and based in San Diego, CA.

Trending Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top-rated project management software, the editors at actively recommend the following:


Visit website Work OS is an award-winning no-code work management platform that helps teams manage projects and workflows more efficiently.

Used by 152,000+ customers worldwide, this fully customizable software lets you plan, manage, and track every project in one place. offers time-saving and easy-to-use features such as automations, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time collaboration. Multiple board views such as Gantt and Kanban help you structure and navigate tasks and projects the way you prefer, and dashboards give a high-level overview of your progress.

In addition, integrations with apps such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Excel, allow you to easily continue working with your favorite tools from within the platform. also offers dedicated solutions, such as monday dev and monday sales CRM, designed to answer the needs of specific industries.

Learn more about

2 ClickUp

Visit website

ClickUp is one of the highest-rated project management tools today. Use Docs, Reminders, Goals, Calendars, Chat, scheduling, assigned comments, custom views, & more with this all-in-one project management tool.

Used by 800,000+ teams in companies like Airbnb, Google, and Uber, it brings all of your projects into a single app! Built for teams of all sizes and industries, Our fully customizable & proprietary features make it a must-have for anyone wanting to keep project management in one place.

Learn more about ClickUp

3 Wrike

Visit website

Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens.

Wrike’s customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing. Integrate with 400+ apps from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce. Automate repetitive tasks and achieve 50% faster planning. Work from anywhere with 100% access to your files via our mobile and desktop apps.

Whether you’re a small startup or an established brand, Wrike has the solution for you. Paid plans start at $9.80/user/month. Join our community of 2.3 million — start your free two-week trial today.

Learn more about Wrike

Share Article

Tags: Avatar
Get the Free Newsletter!
Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.
This email address is invalid.
Get the Free Newsletter!
Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.
This email address is invalid.

Demos, trials & More information

Check out our library of 60+ pm books