Cause & Effect, Fishbone Diagram

- the Cause & Effect or Fishbone diagram or quality tool used to assist in determining the root cause of problems and issues for process improvement.

One of the key issues when undertaking any process improvement is to get to the root cause of any problems or issues

Determining the root cause can be made much easier using some simple quality tools.

The cause and effect diagram or as it is often called, the fishbone diagram (as a result of its shape) can be a particularly effective tool for getting to the bottom of an issue or problem.

Cause & effect diagram basics

Cause and effect diagrams are a simple graphical representation of the cause of problems or issues. They help tease out the reasons for the root cause of a problem when working as a group or team.

The diagrams are often called fishbone diagrams because of the way their structure looks - because they look like the bones of a fish.

The problem that is seen by the group is placed where the head of the fish may be. The diagram is then drawn so that the backbone of the fish connects the "head" to the possible cause or causes of the problem.

Each of these possible causes can then have smaller "bones" that address specific issues that relate to each cause.

Cause & effect diagrams are problem-solving tools commonly used by quality control teams. Specific causes of problems can be explored through brainstorming. The development of a cause-and-effect diagram requires the team to think through all the possible causes of poor quality.

By Ian Poole

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