• 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf


  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf




    ow many times have you seen a group get together to work on a problem, only tofind themselves taking a strong position one way or the other and then arguing to tryto convince other people. You may leave the session frustrated and unclear about thedecisions made. It doesnt have to be that way. There are many quality tools that

    can help groups come together to discuss, brainstorm, sort and prioritize ideas, record actionitems, and tap into each others capabiliti es. This Tool Kit is designed, not only to tell youabout how to implement the tools, but also to share tips about how to make the tool work


    We have selected 9 of our very best and most often utilized group process tools, to share with youat no cost. If you find that you are having great success with these, you may want to consider

    purchasing our larger, companion Tool Kit, called Strategies for Successful Project Implementation for sale online via our website, .

    Heres to a successful experience with your group or team.

    - The New Directions Performance Strategy Team

  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Affini ty Diagram

    The Affinity Diagram is a basic technique for brainstorming and grouping ideas. (Alsoknown as the KJ Method, after its inventor, Japanese anthropologist Jiro Kawakita.)

    WHEN TO USE: The Affinity Diagram is useful to a team as a way of collecting a large numberof random thoughts around a given topic and ordering them into categories, using Post-Its.

    HOW TO USE: Four easy steps:

    11 .. State the Topic. Phrase the issue under discussion.

    22 .. Capture All Ideas . Everyone writes down his or her ideas, one to a Post-it . Typically, anaffinity exercise has at least 20 ideas per person. Tip: Use at minimum a noun and a verb oneach Post-it and try to encourage people to be clear in their descriptions. Use markers sothat the words on the Post-it are easy to see.

    33 .. Grouping of Ideas. The Post-its are spread out on a table, wall or flipchart and the teamarranges them into related groupings. Traditionally, this step is done in silence, but silence isnot necessary in a well functioning team where no members dominate the activity. It is ok forsome notes to stand alone.

    44 .. Look for Patterns. The team talks about what they see as the rationale for the groupings thathave emerged and reach final agreement on the groupings. Then the team circles the groupingand gives it a header or title. This header may be used to prioritize the various groups lateron. It also can be used to compare one groups results to anothers.


    It's simple and quick. In a very short time (often a matter of 10 15 minutes), a large numberof ideas/issues are generated and order is created in what seemed to be random thoughts.

    It allows people to discover patterns on their own and encourages non-traditional connectionsamong ideas or issues.

    It's a consensus builder and ownership generator.

    Overcomes team paralysis which is brought on by an overwhelming array of options.

    Allows unspoken items to surface in an environment that protects anonymity.

    Notes: When using the Affinity Diagram, make sure that all the post-its go up on the wall(or flipchart sheets) together so no one person is singled out. Also, do the sorting of the

    post-its as a group (or in sub-groups if the whole group is too large). When the sortingis done, identify a category header for each group of post -its. Sometimes its valuable(if time allows) to read through the post-its and be certain that the team agrees on allthe post-its included within the category. When done with the activity, place clear tapeover the post-its so they can be transcribed into notes for the team.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf


  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Gap Ana lys i s

    Gap Analysis is a means of identifying blocks to achieving a desired goal. Gap

    Analysis forces a realistic look at the present and helps identify the things that needto be done to arrive at the desired future. Gap Analysis is often combined with the developmentof a Vision Statement to help identify the from -here- state to the to -there- state and how bigthe gap is between the two states.

    WHEN TO USE: Use when a group needs to understand the gap between where they currently areand where they ultimately want to end up, often to determine the amount of effort that will berequired.


    11 .. Identify the future state. The description of the future must be detailed. Post the informationon the right hand side of a large work space on the wall.

    22 .. Identify the present state. How are things now? Describe the same components featured in thefuture state, only do so in real, present terms. Again be very detailed. Post the ideas generatedon the left-hand side of the wall space.

    33 .. Focus on the gaps. Discuss: What are the gaps? What are the other barriers? Whats missing?

    44 .. Share ideas as a group and post these on the wall between the present and the future.

    55 .. Once there is consensus on the gaps, divide the large group into subgroups and give eachgroup one or more gap items to problem solve.


    From State The GAP

    Proposed To

    State (ou rv i s ion o f thefuture)

    How big is the gap between where we arenow and where we want to be?

    What are the barriers and constraints in theway that will prevent us from closing thegap?
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Im pl icat ions Wh eel

    Another great way to get people looking at issues in a constructive manner is to explore theimplications of the various options being discussed. Rather than talking and talking about asingle option, the Implication Wheel encourages the exploration of multiple options. For

    example, you might ask the group - what are the implications of not acting on a certain situation,of deciding to grow by a certain percent, or of adding new staff.

    WHEN TO USE: Use the Implications Wheel when you want to explore the effect of a decision oraction, and then the next layer of implications of the previous action.

    HOW TO USE: Draw a large circle and write the topic in the middle of the circle. Then draw acircle off from the original one and discuss one implication of the original topic. Based on thatimplication, create circles to the third or fourth level of implication. Then move on to anotherimplication of the original circle. Dont end until all the implications have been w ritten down andcarried to at least one or two levels. Then prioritize the most significant implications in terms ofsome criteria selected by the group or team (e.g. cost, time requirement, amount needed, etc.).

    Ask: What are the implications of making this particular choice? What are the implications ofthose implications?
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    The Implications Wheel allows the group to explore potentially negative outcomes in a positive, dynamic fashion. It allows worries and concerns to surface and get addressedwithout overwhelming the group or putting anyone on the spot.

    Notes: When doing the Implications Wheel, do each level of implication before going on tothe next level. Its also fun to use Highlighter Tape (via Trainers Warehouse) to highlight keyinsights.


    The word SIPOC stands for Supplier-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customer. Many times when people are talking about problems or issues, they dont really have a good sens e of an entire process, just the part that they are responsible for completing. SIPOC mapping encourages thegroup to see the whole picture to determine where issues might be arising.

    WHEN TO USE: We often use SIPOC mapping in the beginning of a teambuilding, so that theteam is immediately engaged in identifying their challenges along their entire process. It also can

    be used when orienting a new person so that he or she can see an entire process on paper.

    HOW TO USE: Provide the manager or supervisor with a blank SIPOC map and ask him/her towrite in the process steps that are under discussion (blue boxes). Then ask them to identify theInputs to the process ( light green boxes) and the Outputs of each process (yellow box). Theymay also want to include the Issues (orange boxes) that typically occur at each stage on the map.

    Ask: How does the process begin? Whats the next step in the process? What inputs arenecessary for the process to work? What is the expected output from the process?
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf




    The SIPOC Map creates an easy visual for people to see each step in the process. It can also be a great tool to surface confusion about a process.

    When working on team goal-setting, a high-level SIPOC map of the entire process of work

    through the department can help unify team members to the whole, rather than just focusingon their own work.

    Highlighting problems on the SIPOC helps to identify areas for continuous improvementwithout people having to speak out the problem, which may come across as attacking. By

    putting the problems on starbursts and putting those starbursts on the SIPOC minimizes theaccusations or negative mindset.

    Notes: It may help to have the manager complete the SIPOC ahead of time and then theteam or group can use starbursts to identify their problems with any step in the process.Often well get 40 -50 problems emerging in a process that can then be sorted using the4-blocker exercise. We find that putting the process steps on butcher block paper andthen wrapping the paper on the wall around the room makes a very dynamic processimprovement exercise.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Work Breakdow n P lan

    The Work Breakdown Plan is a tool to help the group or team identify the goal and thendetermine the buckets of work that need to be completed to reach the goal. Often its easy to

    identify the goal, but difficult to agree on an approach for how to achieve the goal. The WBPlanmakes the plan very visible to everyone.

    WHEN TO USE: Use the Work Breakdown Plan, after identifying a problem to fix or anobjective to achieve. Each bucket includes the milestone to be achieved, plus the activities thatwill make up the work to do to achieve the milestone.


    Develop a goal statement of what needs to be achieved. Remember to word the goal carefullyusing the SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time


    2 Develop the major sub goals to pursue to achieve the big goal. To develop these sub goals,ask of the goal statement, How can this be accomplished? The sub goals become the majorheadings in the squares labeled Major Milestones.

    3 Break each major milestone into greater detail by again asking, How can this beaccomplished? Continue building detail until youve identified specific, assignable actions.

    4 Review the completed Work Breakdown and ask the following questions:

    Is there something obvious we have forgotten? Will doing this help to accomplish the original objective? Are all the specific actions sufficient to accomplish the objective?
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf


  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf




    Moves the team from theoretical goals to the real world.

    Keeps everyone linked to the overall goals and sub goals of a task.

    Allows the team to check for completeness at every level of the plan detail. Reveals the real level of complexity involved in reaching the goals.

    Notes: Many teams struggle with how to move from identifying a solution to actuallyimplementing it. The Work Breakdown Plan helps all members of the team to isolatethe major milestones that need to be accomplished to achieve the solution, place themin sequence order and identify start and stop dates. Then sub-items can be generated foreach bucket of work with start dates, resource requirements, etc. Many times it helps

    to have a good facilitator initiate this process with the team to get the ball rolling.We love the Work Breakdown Plan as a great technique to do group goal-setting andinitiative development. We make large, flipchart size WB sheets that are blank and

    placed around the room on the walls. After the goals are determined, they are writtenon the WB Plans and then participants roam from sheet to sheet filling in the importantmilestones and initiatives/activities that they think are important to achievement of thegoal.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Force Field An alysis

    As you develop your Work Breakdown Plan and begin to move forward, you may want tocomplete a Force Field Analysis to examine the driving and restraining forces you will face. This

    tool, developed by Kurt Lewin, an organizational researcher, is for listing, discussing and dealingwith forces that make possible or obstruct a change you want to make.

    WHEN TO USE: Use this tool to identify the factors that work for or against the solution of anissue or problem so that the positives can be reinforced and/or the negatives eliminated.


    Draw a line down the center of the paper. This line represents the situation as it existstoday...our problem statement.

    2 At the right of the page draw another vertical line. This line represents the situation as wewould like it to be...the desired state.

    3 Identify and list the things that are currently preventing us from reaching that desired state,the hindering forces, on the right of the center line.

    4 Identify and list the things that are currently supporting us reaching that desired state, thehelping forces, on the left of the center line.

    5 In some cases it will help to give relative strengths to the helping and hindering forces. Ascale of 1 to 5 with 1 meaning weak and 5 meaning strong, and differ ent size arrows

    based on these differences will give greater clarity to the analysis.

    6 Always finish a Force Field Analysis by making a list of action items. If restraining forces aretoo overwhelming, consider a different solution.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Force Field Analysis

    Ways to Strengthen Pressures WorkingFor the Goal

    Pressures WorkingAgainst the Goal

    Ways to reduce orrelieve


    Pros Cons

    Things we are doing well Things we could do better

    Hopes FearsBest case scenario Worst case scenario

    Assets Liabilities

    Strengths Weaknesses

    Positives Negatives

    Opportunities Obstacles


    Presents the positives and the negatives of a situation so that they can be easilycompared.

    Helps to identify serious restraining forces that will prevent goal attainment.

    Determines if the solution can get needed support.

    Suggests actions for reducing the strength of the obstacles.

    Encourages the team to agree about the relative strength of factors on each side of thebalance sheet.

    Encourages reflection on the real underlying roots of a problem and its solution.

    Notes: Force Field Analysis works very well when paired with Gap Analysis From/ToStatements. First the group identifies where they want to move from and where theywant to go to. These are written as From and To Statements. The next step is tocomplete the Force Field Analysis to identify what factors will help drive the initiativeforward and what will hold it back. When these are weighted, it clarifies for the groupexactly the amount of effort needed to generate change.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Ac cou ntabi l i ty RASCI Matr ix

    Now youre ready to go to work on the project or tacking the problem. The work and decisionmaking responsibility needs to be clarified before you begin so no one is confused. TheAccountability RASCI Matrix helps the team define who is involved in the implementation

    of a solution and to what extent is their involvement.WHEN TO USE:

    When accountability needs to be shared among team members.

    When needing to test that no team members are overloaded with work.


    Formulate a list of actions, decisions or activities with respect to your solution. List theactivities on the vertical axis of the accountability chart.

    2 Then identify the people involved in each action or decision and list these people on

    the horizontal axis of the chart. 3 Chart the appropriate behavior of each person with regard to each action using the

    following criteria:

    R has the responsibility for a particular action (but not necessarily authority). The

    doer who takes responsibility for getting the task done

    A has authority to make decisions has blocking or veto power

    S has support role must provide resources for the action

    C must be consulted before the action, but cannot block

    I must be informed before the action, but cannot block

    Decisionsor Action

    People Involved


    Group A


    Group B


    Group C


    Group D


    Group E


    Group F

    Task A

    Task B

    Task C


    Defines accountability before implementation begins to see where overloads are occurring.

    Helps track responsibilities and accountabilities.
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Conducting a Gemba

    In any process or project you may find that things are not going as well as planned. Rather thansitting around a table and guessing what the problems might be, the best idea is to conduct agemba a Japanese term for the real place, real time, real thing. Conducting a gemba

    means bringing together a group of people who will go watch a process to see where the problems are occurring..


    When reviewing data or hearing about a problem is not giving you all the answers you need.

    When seeing how the process/project works will provide great insight.


    Determine who should be included in the gemba observation group and what part of the process will be observed. Schedule the gemba visit.

    2 Identify the questions that will be asked during the gemba to learn more about what ishappening in the process.

    3 Chart the results of the gemba so that the group can see what has been learned. Thegroup may also want to take notes during the gemba and then hear the observations ofeach other before formalizing the notes.

    Typical Gemba Questions

    1. How does this process work? Where does this process go next? What are theirexpectations with this process?

    2. Does the process produce many defects? Are they tracked in any way?

    3. Is the process moving ahead of schedule or behind schedule?

    4. What are examples of improvements you are seeing already?

    5. How many suggestions for improvement are generated by the group?

    6. What are the quality control procedures?

    7. Is key information/standards always available/attached to the work area?

    8. Do people understand why they are doing this work and how it fits into the bigger picture?

    9. What metrics are being tracked by the group (time, materials, and personnel)?
  • 8/10/2019 The Quality Problem-Solving Tool Kit.pdf



    Other Quali ty-Focu sed Produ cts f rom New Direct ion s:

    Strategies for Successful ProjectImplementation Strategies for Successful Project Implementation

    booklet is designed to supplement our Project

    Implementation training module by highlighting a

    number of useful tools to implement projects from

    start to finish. The 74-page booklet provides

    directions for how to use each tool, plus notes from us

    about what works particularly well when using the

    tools in a team environment.

    The Meeting FixerStop wasting valuable time with unproductive

    meetings! Here is all you need to transform your

    meetings into fast-paced, results-oriented sessions.

    This booklet will walk you through a step-by-step

    process to improve your meetings. Build effective

    agendas, learn key facilitation phrases, use the quick

    scribe notes instead of lengthy minutes and utilize key

    meeting roles to keep your meetings on track. Tip

    boxes are located throughout the booklet to provide

    careful reminders of what works best.