7 Management and Planning Tools (Management Solution Tools)


30 Oct 2009

Nowadays, there are so many challenges that are faced by organization in the world. The occurred challenge usually is about how to solve internal problem in an organization. The problem can be quantitative or and qualitative.

Quantitative problem can be solved by statistical technique such as Seven Quality Control Tools (7-QC Tools). But the qualitative problem is often faced by non-management level and shopfloor (See below picture). Qualitative problem which generally is uncertain, inter-functional and multi-discipliner is faced by management in the organization.

That is why we need a solution tool which needs a creative and deep analysis that need time planning, cost, human resources, and risk anticipating. So we need tools for planning and solving managerial problem that is called 7 Management & Planning Tools . This article will explain 7 MP Tools and their benefit for the organization.

7 MP tools History
In 1972, a Committee for Developing QC Tools was established in Japan . The committee cooperated with JUSE to develop a new quality control technique for managers. In January 1977, the technique was published as new a technique that was called 7 QC Tools.

What are 7 MP tools?
7 MP tools are planning and solving tools for strategic problem, which is based on uncertain qualitative data, inter-functional and multidiscipline matter.

7 MP tools consist of:

  1. Affinity diagram (AD) or KJ Method
  2. Interrelationship diagram
  3. Tree diagram / Systematic Diagram
  4. Matrix Diagram
  5. Prioritization Matrix
  6. Process decision Program Chart (PDPC)
  7. Arrow Diagram / Activity Network Diagram

The main benefit of 7 MP Tools is to improve the planning processes. The below picture shows steps on using these tools:


We will explain the 7 MP tools more detail by using the existing step:

  1. Problem Identification Phase

    To find, test and explain problem relationship
    Tools: interrelation diagram and affinity diagram
    • Affinity diagram (AD) or KJ Method
      Affinity diagram (AD) / KJ Method is a diagram which organizes the idea based on similarity, closeness, and its equivalent.

      This tool can give the information about spread form and problem grouping. The most important of AD is that participants show their creativity side and direct them to achieve the element. AD can produce both diamonds and trashes. The next tools can help you to separate them.
    • Interrelationship Diagram (ID)
      Interrelationship diagram is a diagram which describes complex interrelation situation to get a clear causality. Every situation that happens in the same time can be connected logically with other situation.

      This diagram is very useful on planning phase to get wider perspective about confronted problem, which has complex relationship between one and another. Priority of root-cause can be identified accurately by exposing the connectivity of the reasons. Because the structure is not rigid, this diagram will give us freedom to develop and change ideas.

    AD and ID are tools and first step from 7 MP tools. These tools can be very powerful if they are combined with the others 7 MP tools. This stage began with brainstorming to show the existing problem. After that, every problem or connectivity was grouped.

    AD and ID have same purpose that is to identify problems. Therefore the chosen tools depend on us.


  1. Preparing Problem Solution Phase

    Developing problem solutions
    Tools: tree diagram, matrix diagram, and prioritization matrix

    After we got root of the problem, we will use the next tools, those are as follow:

    • Tree diagram / Systematic Diagram
      Tree diagram / Systematic Diagram is a diagram which describes situation, problem, and complex plan becoming more detail and specific.

      In the planning stage, this diagram is used to preview the goals, targets, results or big plan (motherhood and apple pie) into a detailed form (nitty gritty detail) and more detail task. (See below picture)



    • Matrix Diagram
      Matrix diagram is a diagram which consists of row and columns that describes the relationship of two or more factors to get information about location or source of problems so that we can get ideas to solve the problem.

      Graphically, this matrix diagram shows relationship of two or more factors, the power of the relationship and the direction. By using this diagram, we can compare information such as characteristic, function, and task.

      Matrix diagram is generally used for:
      • Enables data or ideas which occurred from qualitative experience (verbal data) can be collected faster. This kind of data is sometime more effective than numerical data.
      • To make a clear relationship between elements of a condition, therefore problem structure can be clearer.
      • By combining two or four diagram type, the root of problem will become clear.

      This diagram usually is used together or combined with another tools such as prioritization matrix

    • Prioritization Matrix
      After we get many alternatives of solution, then we use prioritization matrix to look for priority of alternative solutions. We sometime need to put criteria on decision making decision such as cost and time.

      Prioritization matrix is a combination of Tree Diagram and Matrix Diagram that is used to make priority of tasks, problems, product, and services from multi factor and complex choices.


  1. Preparing Implementation Plan Phase

    Preparing problem solution specifically to make sure the effectiveness and efficiency of the solution.
    Tools: Process decision program chart (PDPC) and Arrow Diagram


    • Process Decision Program Chart (PDPC)
      After achieving alternatives priority, we can use Process Decision Program Chart. Process Decision Program Chart is a diagram which identifies anticipating steps for decision making. PDPC mapped the chronology of events that may happen in implementing the plans. By using PDPC, we can identify anticipating steps to solve unexpected events, so that we are ready to handle those events.


    • Arrow Diagram / Activity Network Diagram
      If the chosen solution alternative has specified time duration, we may use arrow diagram to prepare implementation plan. Arrow diagram describes activity plan of a complex and related project within certain target time. Arrow diagram is generally used for tasks, which have time duration. Arrow diagram is sometime also called Activity Network Diagram, Program Evaluation and Review Technique, or Critical Path Method.
      Arrow diagram is used for:
      • To prepare a complex and related schedule
      • To set daily plan
      • To monitor projects development
      • To find a way to shorten the execution of the project time
      • To show time solution and things that influences it.
      • To identify "bottleneck" from the process that can interrupt achievement of the task.


7 MP Implementation

The things that we should to know that these 7 MP Tools are used only in Planning phase in Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle .

PDCA Cycle

We need to have basic behaviors that are as follow:

  • Believe in process
  • Respect brainstorming process
  • Discipline
  • Be patient
  • Listening each other
  • Knowing the time when to use or end 7 MP tools
  • Integrity
  • Flexibility
  • Respect the different arguments

Hopefully this article can give us a new and useful knowledge for our work place.


PQM Consultants, the Seven Management and Planning Tools Training, 2005.

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