Sample of a Fishbone Diagram

What is a Fishbone diagram?

Ishikawa diagrams, also known as fishbone diagrams, are a mechanism for generating and mining data to discover the cause and effect of an issue or observation. Kaoru Ishikawa created this diagramming technique in (1982) to show the causes of a specific event. A fishbone diagram is an analysis tool that provides a systematic way of looking at effects and the causes that create or contribute to those effects. Because of the function of the fishbone diagram, it may be referred to as a cause-and-effect diagram. The design of the diagram looks much like the skeleton of a fish. The technique has been adopted and used in many quality and analytical processes such as SAFe’s Inspect and Adapt process.

This diagramming technique is almost always used in combination with other techniques (see below). The diagram acts as a way to organize many potential causes of problems or issues in an orderly way and so that the root cause can be sifted out of the noise.

When should a fishbone diagram be used? (more…)