The affinity diagram is a “bottom-up” technique to discover connections between pieces of data. An individual or group will start with just one piece of data (e.g. a customer need). Then, the team examines the rest of the available data in order to find other additional information and data that is similar to the first. The additional data is placed in the same group. As the team recognizes items that differ from those in the first group, they will create new categories. The end result of the affinity diagram process is a set of groups where the data contained within a category is similar, and the groups all differ in some way.
For more new product development and project management terms, please see the NPD Glossary.
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