Tree Diagram

The tree diagram is one of the 7 Management and Planning Tools described by Shigeru Mizuno. It is used to figure out all the various tasks that must be undertaken to achieve a given objective. If you use it carefully and thoroughly, it will give you a better understanding of the true scope of a project, and will help your team focus on specific tasks that are needed to get something done.

Trees in nature give us a really useful model for thinking in tree diagrams: roots, trunks, branches and twigs all map to problems or situations, main objectives, major themes, and minor themes and details.

To successfully build a tree diagram:

  1. Be sure everyone agrees on main goal before beginning.
  2. Be succinct.
  3. Think of the main tasks involved in accomplishing the goal. Add them to the tree.
  4. For each task node, think of the sub-tasks that will be required, and add them to the tree.
  5. Ask yourselves if there is anything that has been forgotten.
  6. As you work through the project, towards the goal, change the colors of nodes that are finished, so that you can see an indication of progress.