Force Field Analysis

One step up from fishbone diagrams is force field analysis. On balance it should contain all of the causes that were identified through the fishbone diagram, which are called restraining forces in force field analysis. Restraining forces are forces that act upon the effect to maintain it or prevent an unacceptable situation from improving. An additional set of positive factors, which are called driving forces, have the opposite impact of restraining forces. These forces act upon the effect to neutralize it or to improve the situation. The goal of a force field analysis is to identify these two types of forces and then identify initiatives to reduce the restraining forces and strengthen the driving forces. Together the restraining forces and driving forces are the causes that act upon each other to produce the current state—the effect. Figure 5.3 is a generic graphical representation of this model.

Once these forces have been identified, the next step is to identify actions that might be taken to weaken or remove one or more of the restraining forces

Figure 5.2 The structure of the fishbone diagram.

Current state


Figure 5.3 Force field analysis.

and strengthen or complement one or more of the driving forces. These actions become a set of initiatives that will be rank ordered and undertaken sequentially.

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Project Management Made Easy

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