Cause and effect diagrams also known as, Fishbone Diagrams Ishikawa Diagrams, Herringbone Diagrams, and Fishikawa Diagrams is a visualization tool commonly used to identify potential defect root causes.

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa Japanese quality control expert invented the concept of Fishbone Diagram in 1943 due to that Fishbone Diagram widely known as Ishikawa Diagrams. The tools are published in his book “Introduction to Quality Control.”

Overview of tool

The defect is shown as the fish’s head and potential causes on bones in a Fishbone Diagrams. Cause and effect Diagrams tools are considered in 7 basic quality tools.

Cause and effect Diagrams Can help in brainstorming to identify possible potential causes of causing an overall effect to quality defect prevention.

When to use a Fishbone diagram

A fishbone diagram is useful in improvement methods for product development and troubleshooting  to identify all of the potential root causes to eliminate defects in process. For instance, you can use fishbone diagram for below reasons

  • When identifying possible causes for a problem
  • To reveal bottlenecks in any processes.
  • Identify the issues and corrective action to resolve

How to create a Cause and effect diagrams

Cause and effect Diagrams is shows key relationships various variables with possible causes. Write down the exact problem the problem and Agree on a problem statement with team use a white board, butcher-block paper, or a flip chart.

The next step is to decide how to categorize the cause by Brainstorming sessions often using the 5 Whys technique . In a typical categories mainly used in lean manufacturing the 5 Ms is one of the most common frameworks for root-cause analysis.

  • Man / mind power (physical or knowledge work)
  • Machine (technology equipment)
  • Material (consumables, includes raw material, and information)
  • Method (process)
  • Measurement / medium (environment, inspection)

Fishbone Diagram with example

Below is the graphic is a fishbone diagram with example to find the voids in printed circuit board manufacturing. Fishbone diagram example given below.

Cause and effect Diagrams
Cause and effect Diagrams (Fishbone Ishikawa Diagrams) example

The team identifies the following possible causes of the problem factors shown in the Layers of branches.

Download template for Fishbone diagram

You can get template for fishbone diagram free. To download template for fishbone diagram for free please click here.


Cause and effect Diagrams or fishbone diagram are very effective tools and structured team process to use in process improvement.

Creating this Cause and effect Diagrams helps CFT team to clear understanding the involved process, identifying potential factors causing an overall effect to defect prevention.

Further reading


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