- Purpose of this article
- A3 Thinking - The Lean Problem Solving Approach
- How to Use Cause-Effect Diagrams
- Example 1: Long Release Cycle
- Example 2: Defects Released to Production
- Example 3: Lack of Pair Programming
- Example 4: Lots of Problems
- Practical Issues: How to Create and Maintain the Diagrams
Practical Issues: How to Create and Maintain the Diagrams
When creating the diagrams alone I find it easiest to work directly with a diagramming tool such as Visio or Powerpoint. It’s nice to be able to move things around quickly, resize the boxes, and make quick backups when playing around with the picture.
Working in a small group (2 – 8 people)
Gather in front of a whiteboard or flipchart. Use stickynotes for issues, and draw arrows to connect them. Whiteboard is preferable, so you could erase and redraw the arrows as you move the stickynotes around. Make sure everybody is helping out, not just one person doing all the drawing. Make sure someone takes a high-resolution photo and sends to everyone after the meeting.
Working in a larger group (9 – 30 people)
Split the group into smaller teams, each focused around one specific problem. It is OK to have multiple teams working independently on the same problem – they may come to the same conclusion or different conclusions, and both cases are interesting. Each team works with a flipchart/whiteboard and stickynotes. Gather everyone together at regular intervals to share insights.
Long-term maintenance of a diagram
Let the diagram live in a tool such as Visio or Powerpoint. Whenever you get to a workshop setting, decide if the meeting is mostly for presenting the diagram, or for updating it. If presenting, use a projector to show the diagram directly in Visio (or whatever tool you use). If updating the picture, replicate it on a whiteboard/flipchart with stickynotes and arrows so that people can collaborate effectively. Then synchronize with the electronic tool after the meeting.
This type of synchronizing does take some time, but it is often worth it. Nothing can beat physical tools like whiteboards & stickynotes when doing team workshops.