Use the river diagram to communicate data

I run a lot of workshops, including planning workshops and retrospectives.  Sometimes the crew votes on things like “what is the best feature, or how did we go this time.”

But sometimes we collect data and then want to discuss it as a team.  And this presents a challenge – I like data in a spreadsheet and I like pictures on the wall but sometimes it seems hard to capture numbers in a useful way in the workshop.

But do not fear – the River Diagram is here and this is exactly what it is for.

river1

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Collaborative problem solving with affinity diagrams

Not many people seem to know what an affinity diagram is, but most project teams seem to have used them. So maybe I am using the wrong term for the process of “writing ideas on a post-it note and then whacking them up on a wall”.

In my defence though, most seem to have mixed experiences with workshops where they put all their ideas up on a wall. It seems that many workshops involve people brainstorming (or “brain-writing”) ideas on post-it notes and then all putting them up on a wall – but then the workshop ends. The facilitator says something like “thanks – now we will take all this away and get back to you” and the rest of the crew wonder what is going on.

So this article describes a process that can be applied to apply a useful structure to “putting ideas up on the wall”. I will be using the fictional BA team that I have used in a couple of recent posts and I will see if we can help them solve their problem

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