Interrelationship Digraph

The Interrelationship Digraph is one of the Seven Management and Planning Tools.

It is frequently used to further explore the groups that develop out of the affinity diagram. It is intended to enable people to see links and causal relationships.

The Digraph is produced by placing all of the factors (eg groups from an Affinity Diagram) onto a large white-board (ideally dry-wipe white-board sheets covering  an entire wall) in an initially random fashion. These ‘factors’ are then linked by arrows to represent causal effects – eg the factor at the head of the arrow is ’caused’ by the factor at the tail.
This can be done in one big group or in several smaller groups, each group looking for direct causality between items. The factors can be moved around the board to avoid long arrows. However, be prepared for multiple rearrangements and rewrites of arrows as understanding evolves.
Essentially the digraph helps people develop understanding and insight into what are the causes (factors predominantly with arrows emanating from them) and what are the effects (factors predominantly with arrows converging on them) in a situation. Loops in the arrows can indicate vicious circles (or virtuous cycles).
It is most commonly used in exploring the factors in an existing situation, and in problem solving, but it can also be used from a planning perspective to look at the causality between the objectives and strategies of a business and its component parts.  More commonly referred as a ‘Why-How’ chart in this form, it can be an excellent tool to break down organisational silos and develop a broader understanding of how departmental focii need to link together to ensure success.
For further guidance on ‘Why-How’ charting, take a look at Chapter 1 of How to Build a Better Business (which is a free e-book), or Chapter 2 of Managing by Design.
Further information on the Digraph (and indeed on all of the Seven Management and Planning Tools) can be found on the ASQ website.

Please subscribe to access clinic content

Subscription to the Inspirometer Information Service is free of charge and grants you instant access to a wealth of meeting effectiveness resources and guidance. It also provides you with regular updates direct to your mailbox at a frequency of your choosing.

I am happy to consent to the Inspirometer cookies and Terms and Conditions

Your use of the Inspirometer Information Service is subject to the following terms and conditions, and is subject to our privacy policy which can be reviewed here:

■ We will not use your information for any other purpose than to keep you informed of developments in meeting effectiveness and the Inspirometer system, and we will not share your information with others.
■ You are able to unsubscribe from this service at any time. Each email you receive from us will contain a link where you can reset your preferences for all future emails, or unsubscribe for the service entirely.
■ We will contact you on a minimum of a quarterly basis to ensure that our service is continuing to meet your needs, to give you a general update on key developments in our service, and to provide you with the option to change your contact preferences
■ We will hold your data on file to enable your access to the Information Service until such time as you unsubscribe from the service
■ If we hold your data outside of the information service as a result of you contacting us by email or purchasing our service, we will hold your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy ( We will delete such data, in situations where we are not legally required to retain it, on receipt of a verified request from you
■ All information provided by us is provided in good faith. All information submitted by you is to be provided in good faith.
■ In compliance with the GDPR 2018, you acknowledge that clicking the subscribe button grants us your consent to hold the data you have provided, and to contact you using that data, in the manner described above.
By clicking the button below, I agree with the Terms & Conditions.
Track your progress to ensure the efficacy of this strategy.