What Is the Fishbone Diagram?
The fishbone diagram (also known as the Ishikawa or cause-and-effect diagram) is a common tool to identify or prevent a particular event. The diagram was popularized in the 1960’s in the Kawasaki shipyards by Kaoru Ishikawa, who would become a founding father of modern management.
It gets its name due to the resemblance of a fish skeleton, with the effect at the fish’s head and the grouped causes extending out like fish bones.
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The Ishikawa diagram is a cause analysis tool (along with the 5 Whys, Pareto chart, or Scatter diagram) used during root cause analysis to group causes into different sub-categories that are used as the “bones” of the diagram (measurements, materials, methods, etc.)
Used effectively, the diagram helps teams brainstorm and categories all potential causes for a failure rather than focus only on the symptoms.
When to Use Ishikawa Diagram
The Ishikawa diagram is a versatile tool that can be used in almost any system or process to break down varying causes. During a root cause analysis, the diagram should be used during the analysis phase to categorize contributing factors.
The tool can also be used:
- To dissect a problem statement
- To improve a process or system
- To evaluate a new design