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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
October 20, 2009


The fishbone diagram, or the cause and effect diagram, is a simple graphic display that shows all the possible causes of a problem in a business process. It is also called the Ishakawa diagram.

Fishbone diagrams are useful due to how they portray information. There are 4 Main Reasons to use a Fishbone Diagram:
  1. Display relationships - The fishbone diagram captures the associations and relationships among the potential causes and effects displayed in the diagram. These relationships can be easily understood.
  2. Show all causes simultaneously - Any cause or causal chain featured on the fishbone diagram could be contributing to the problem. The fishbone diagram illustrates each and every possible cause in an easily comprehendible way; this makes it a great tool for presenting the problem to stakeholders.
  3. Facilitate brainstorming - The fishbone diagram is a great way to stimulate and structure brainstorming about the causes of the problem because it captures all the causes. Seeing the fishbone diagram may stimulate your team to explore possible solutions to the problems.
  4. Help maintain team focus - The fishbone framework can keep your team focused as you discuss what data needs to be gathered. It helps ensure that everyone is collecting information in the most efficient and useful way, and that nobody is wasting energy chasing nonexistent problems.
Further Reading on Six Sigma:

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2 Comments to “4 Reasons to Use Fishbone Diagrams”

Great News! Thank you Paul!


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