# Problem Solving Fishbone Analysis

What it is
Fishbone analysis is an example of ‘root cause analysis’: specifically, it’s a type of cause and effect diagram which helps you to think through causes of a problem thoroughly. Their major benefit is that they push you to consider all possible causes of the problem, rather than just the ones that are most obvious. This approach works on two principles: 1. The true problem must be understood before action is taken. 2. Problems are often masked for a variety of reasons

How to use it
Determine a number of ‘bones’ on the fish. They needn’t only be process elements: they might be people, environment, materials, measurement systems etc. For each ‘bone’ ask “What specifically could have contributed to the problem? Then continue to ask why that happened, making smaller and smaller bones, until you reach one or more fundamental elements that failed.

Detailed instructions & guidelines
• Name the effect; determine the specific problem to be analyzed. • Draw the diagram with a process arrow to the effect and draw a box around it. • Decide what the major categories of the causes are (i.e., people, machines, measurement, materials, methods, environment, policies, etc.). • Label categories important to your situation. Make it work for you. • Brainstorm all possible causes and label each cause under the appropriate category. • Post the diagram where others can add causes to it (i.e., experts, affected people, process owners, etc..). • Analyze causes and eliminate trivial and/or frivolous ideas. • Rank causes and circle the most likely ones for further consideration and study. • Investigate the circled causes. Use other techniques to gather data and prioritize findings. Remember: • Try not to go beyond the span of control of the group. • There is NO rule for the number or type of categories; use your imagination! • Promote participation by everyone concerned; you can ask individuals or groups to generate multiple charts. • Keep chart up to date so it can be used throughout the improvement cycle.

Department of Health

Department of Health . She lists the basic bones as communication. The example below is a simple one: a teacher asked her students to develop a fishbone analysis of why she had to keep stopping the lesson.Problem Solving Fishbone Analysis Examples The example below is a manager with the problem statement. The class worked on this together and identified a handful of root causes which they agreed to work on. “The leadership team lacks influence”. the next step would be to generate ‘bones’ for each of these. processes and environment and populates them with likely causes. trust.