How to Make and Use a Plus/Delta Chart [With Video]

For organizations, teams, products, and services to be successful in the business world, continuous improvement is necessary. However, far too often organizations fail to achieve the benefits of change because they don’t know what to change or where to start.

Enter the Plus/Delta chart.

What Is a Plus/Delta Chart?

The Plus/Delta assessment and feedback tool is a quick and effective way for both individuals and groups to start identifying things to improve. This brainstorm-type format creates a comfortable atmosphere for an open and honest exchange of feedback. As an added benefit, when people give feedback, they often gain a sense of responsibility that motivates them to resolve the problems identified.

How Do You Make a Plus/Delta Chart?

On a piece of paper or on a flipchart, divide the sheet using a “T” shape. The right side of the vertical line is for things that should be continued or the positives, and the left side of the vertical line is for things that need to be changed or the negatives. In a true Plus/Delta chart, a plus is added above the left side and a triangle or delta sign is added above the right side.

Now let’s dive into the pros and cons—the pluses and deltas—of Plus/Delta charts.

The Pluses

The best part of the Plus/Delta assessment and feedback tool is its ease of use. You can make one quickly with just a paper and a writing utensil. This simple framework sets you up for an in-depth conversation that you can dive right into. Positive feedback can be given first, followed by the negative, or feedback can be given randomly and the meeting facilitator or individual can identify which side of the diagram it falls under.

In a training atmosphere, CMOE’s facilitators have found success with a small deviation of this tool for enhancing learning. Working on the Plus/Delta as an individual, participants use the right side of the diagram to identify what their strengths are in relation to the workshop topic and the left side of the diagram for areas needing change or improvement. The responses of the participants can be used to evaluate their implementation of the knowledge and skills learned at a later time.

The Deltas

While a Plus/Delta debriefing tool helps identify key problems, it may not surface root issues. As a result, it is often a great place to start, but once key problems are identified, other assessment and feedback tools may be the right next step.

In addition, the brainstorm-type style can easily get out-of-hand in a group situation. People may speak out of turn, side conversations may develop, and feedback comments may be missed. Ground rules are highly recommended!

We hope you utilize and enjoy this simple, yet effective feedback tool!

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About the Author

Cherissa Newton