Fishbone Diagram / Cause and Effect Diagram

A Fishbone Diagram is another name for the Ishikawa Diagram or Cause and Effect Diagram. It gets its name from the fact that the shape looks a bit like a fish skeleton. A fish bone diagram is a common tool used for a cause and effect analysis, where you try to identify possible causes for a certain problem or event. The following downloads may help you get started, and if you continue reading, I've included some detailed information about how to use the diagrams.

Printable Fishbone Diagram / Cause and Effect Diagram
The following cause and effect worksheets are PDF files that you can download and print from instantly.
Printable Cause and Effect Diagram Blank Fishbone Diagram

.Insert rows to increase space for primary causes. .Use text indenting within a cell for secondary or tertiary causes .Copy and paste columns to insert more categories. Although not angled like most fishbone diagrams. this one is very simple to edit and customize (as opposed to constantly moving and aligning text boxes and arrows).Use cell formatting to add/remove branches to the diagram.Screenshots: 1 Description Create a cause and effect diagram with this template. . .

Define the Effect: Be specific. See the example categories below. or defect in a product or process. . factors. 2. Steps to Using a Cause and Effect Diagram 1. A fishbone diagram is simply a tool to be used along with Brainstorming and the 5 Whys. I designed the above template so that it would easy for someone familiar with Excel to use during a meeting to record the ideas as they are discussed. Due to its simplicity. The various causes are grouped into categories and the arrows in the image below indicate how the causes cascade or flow toward the end effect. Choose Categories: The template is set up with the most common set of categories. It organizes the diagram into an outline view that is much easier to edit on the fly. result.The Outline worksheet included in the workbook (screenshot not shown) is even simpler to use. but you can add or remove categories based on your specific case. the diagram is often drawn on a white board during a brainstorm session. or sources of variation that lead to a specific event. Using a Cause and Effect Diagram The purpose of a cause and effect analysis is to identify the causes.

Ask Why?: You really want to find the root causes.3. Brainstorm Possible Causes: Using the diagram while brainstorming can both broaden and focus your thinking as you consider the various categories in turn. 5. meaning that sometimes branches (what I have labeled as primary and secondary causes in the diagram below) may actually represent subcategories of causes rather than actual causality. But. 4. Causality During a brainstorm session. "Improper handling" is not a root cause. while "Failing to wear Latex gloves" might be closer to a root cause. and one way to help do that is to use the 5 Whys technique: asking "Why?" or "Why else?" over and over until you come up with possible root causes." It is a lot easier to take action against the inventory problem than just the generic "improper handling". you could still ask "Why was he/she not wearing gloves?" with the possible response "There were none available. . Investigate: Now that you've come up with possible causes. Common Categories in a Fishbone Diagram The M's Machine (Equipment) Method (Process) Man Power (People / physical labor) Material Mother Nature (Environment) Management (Policies) Measurement (Inspection) Maintenance Marketing (Promotion) The P's The S's (Service Industry) (Service Industry) Plant/Place Process People Policies Procedures Price Promotion Product Surroundings Supplies Systems Skills Categorization vs. this diagram is usually used very loosely. it is time to go gather data to confirm which causes are real or not.

For example. which might be listed under the category People if it was associated with handling by a person (as opposed to machine handling). it might be listed under the sub-category Improper Handling. then the primary and secondary branches taken on very specific meanings: A Primary Cause is one that could lead directly to the effect. I use the following rule to distinguish between categorization vs. So slippery hands would be listed as a secondary cause under dropping. or root cause analysis is geared more towards thinking in terms of causality. Using the fish bone diagram loosely may result in a combination of the two approaches as the group oscillates between categorizing different causes and asking "Why?" or "Why else?". probability tree. the cause slippery hands doesn't make the bulb burn out. The following example shows the sub-categories highlighted. For example.When a cause and effect diagram is used to represent causality. Effect: Light Bulb Burning Out Prematurely Causality Approach Categorization Approach People > Dropping > > Slippery Hands > > Rolling off a Table > Throwing People > Improper Handling > > Dropping > > Throwing Combination People > Improper Handling > > Dropping > > > Slippery Hands > > > Rolling off a Table > > Throwing A tree diagram. while using a fishbone diagram tends to make people think in terms of categorization. a light bulb that burns out pre-maturely (the effect) might be caused by a sudden jarring motion such as dropping. A Secondary Cause is a cause that could lead to a Primary Cause. When a fishbone diagram is used for simply categorizing possible causes. then instead of listing Dropping in the place of a primary cause. with Dropping and Throwing as different causes that fit under that sub-category. but it could lead to the light bulb being dropped. causality: . but does not directly cause the end effect. Although I've never seen any reference for this technique.

People.Just as the main categories (Equipment. if you include sub-categories in your cause-and-effect diagram. The following tree diagram shows the difference between categorization (grouping of causes) and causality (the tree). etc. causality.) are highlighted by placing a circle or box around them. circle the sub-category so you can distinguish between categorization vs. .

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