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The kitchen sink: with interrelationship and causal diagrams

Yesterday, I used Ryan Singer’s interrelationship and causal diagrams to remove a water filtering system from under my sink. The diagrams likely saved me hours of work.

Four diagrams. #1 is a photo of a words written around a circle with arrows point from one to another. #2 is a replicate of #1 in softare. #3 is a replicate of #2 where items without entering arrows are place towards the top. #4 is a printed out version of 3 with some handwritten annotations.

First, while sitting in front of the open cabinet, I wrote on paper all the steps I needed to complete the removal (1). When step “A” needed to happen before step “B,” I drew an arrow from “A” to “B.” Then I redrew the whole thing on the computer (2) so I could move the steps around.

I copied the steps to create the causal diagram (3). Steps without requirements “float” to the top, while steps with requirements are placed 1 level below their “most recent” upstream requirement. Thanks to the causal diagram I realized I missed steps. It was much easier to adjust the diagram than to figure it out in the moment!

Finally, I printed the causal diagram and used it as my checklist while doing the work (4).

I should use these tools more often. They’re powerful.