What is it?
A starfish diagram is a process improvement tool used to identify opportunities for improvement. Team members categorize key tactics to “start doing”, “stop doing”, “do less”, “do more”, and “keep doing” to continue progress toward defined outcomes. It can be used during a project to ensure that things are on track, or once the project is complete, to evaluate the project and develop strategies for future improvement.
How do you do it?
- On a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, draw a large circle and divide it into five equal segments.
- Label each segment ‘Start Doing’, ‘Stop Doing’, ‘Keep Doing’, ‘More Of’, ‘Less Of’.
- For each segment, have the team brainstorm ideas by posing the following questions:
- What can we start doing that will accelerate progress?
- What can we stop doing that slows progress?
- What can we continue to do that is currently effective?
- What is currently aiding the team’s progress and we can do more of?
- What is currently impeding the team’s progress and we can do less of?
- Group similar ideas together – keep in mind that the same idea may have been expressed in opposite segments, but these should still be grouped together.
- Discuss each grouping as a team including any corrective actions. If there is a lot debate around any action and which segment it belongs in, employ a method such as multi-voting to reach consensus.
The activity can be completed in any order you choose, but one popular method is to start with the negative aspects first and end with the positive to foster positive conversations and end the activity in an optimistic manner. The order of completion would be ‘Stop’, ‘Less of’, ‘Keep’, ‘More’, ‘Start’.