Tree diagrams are multi-purpose, visual tools for narrowing and prioritizing problems, objectives or decisions. Information is organized into a tree-like diagram. The main issue is represented by the tree's trunk, and the relevant factors, influences and outcomes will show up as roots and branches. This method could be used after the participants needs have been identified.
Examples of different kinds of trees are:
A decision tree can be used to illustrate costs and benefits associated with decisions.
A problem or problem-cause tree illustrates dependent and independent variables that affect a particular problem, and it can be useful in understanding the underlying causes of complex problems.
An objectives tree can be used to discern priority needs. Problem
trees and objective trees are often made in tandem, since identifying problems
is the first step to setting objectives which address them.
A surface that can be drawn upon, markers, pens or chalk.
1. Participants review their priority development challenge/problem.
2. A tree trunk is drawn and a word or a symbol which notes the problem is drawn into the trunk.
3. Limbs and leaves are drawn in several directions. Participants suggest different dimensions of the problem, represented by each limb or leaf.
4. A root system, symbolizing the causes of the problem, is drawn under the tree.
5. The group suggests possible causes of the problem; each root is marked with a picture or a phrase which represents a cause.
6. Once the tree is complete, participants discuss the extent to which each cause impacts the major problem. For example, a cause may be major or minor, one-time or permanent.
7. A well-defined problem tree can be a useful place to start an objectives tree. Eliminating the root causes on a problem tree can become the branches of an objectives tree.