Fish Bone

Fish Bone business slide

Fish Bone Diagram aso called: Cause-and-Effect Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram


The Cause and Effect diagram identifies many possible causes for an effect or a problem. Your team can used this to structure a brainstorming session because it immediately sorts ideas into key categories.

Download for

  1. A 12 page manual on using the Fishbone Diagram.
  2. A blank Fishbone form to help you draw the diagram.
  3. A MS Excel template for making Fishbones.

When to Use

When your figuring out the possible factors for a problem.

When your teams thinking hits a roadblock.


1- Agree on the problem (effect). Write it at the center right (Fish Head) of the flipchart or whiteboard. Draw a box around it and draw a horizontal arrow running to it.

2- Brainstorm the possible major categories of causes of the problem (5M and 1E).


 Machines (equipment)

 Manpower (People)




Comprehensive ISO 9001:2015 Audit Checklist for Internal, Gap and Certification Audits.

ISO 9001:2015 Internal Audit Checklist

3- Write the categories of causes as branches from the main arrow.

4- Brainstorm all the possible factors for each of the major categories. Ask: Why does this happen? As each element is given, write it as a branch from the appropriate category (5M ). Causes can be written in several places if they relate to several categories.

5- Again ask why does this happen? about each branch from step 4. Write sub-causes branching off the causes. Continue to ask Why? and generate deeper levels of causes. Layers of branches indicate relationships.

6 After completion, have the team review the diagram. Identify elements that need to be investigated. Circle those items and assign investigation action items to the team.

Comment Box is loading comments...

More Info

  • Scatter Diagram

    Use a Scatter Diagram to investigate possible relationships. This article provides step by step instructions to creating one

  • Priorities Matrix

    A priorities matrix evaluates and prioritizes a list of options. Learn to formally construct one and analyze the results.

  • Pareto Chart

    The Pareto chart is one of the total quality management tools and usually used during the define stage in six sigma

  • Matrix diagram

    Learn the different types of matrix diagram which is a key quality tool.

  • Balanced Scorecard

    The Balanced Scorecard provides a clear prescription as to what companies should measure in order to 'balance' the financial perspective

  • Basic Tools for Process Improvement

    Do you need a list of basic tools for process improvement? We provides a list of basic, advanced and favorite continuous improvement tools.

  • PDCA cycle

    Learn the PDCA cycle, when to use it, how to construct it. We include an example of it too.

  • Customer Lifetime Value The Key

    Customer lifetime value the key to understanding how much to invest into customer retention. Download a free spreadsheet for calculating LTV.

Quality Assurance Solutions
Robert Broughton
(805) 419-3344
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

All Products

Software, Videos, Manuals, On-Line Certifications

PDCA Complete

An Organizational Task Management System. Projects, Meetings, Audits & more

8D Manager

Corrective Action Software

TrainingKeeper Software

Plan and Track Training

Snap Sampling Plans!

AQL Inspection Software

QAS Business Slide Deck

450+ Editable Slides with support links


Learn and Train TRIZ

ISO 9001:2015 QA Manual

Editable Template

ISO 9001:2015 QMS Kit

Templates, Guides, QA Manual, Audit Checklists

ISO 14001:2015 EMS Kit

EMS Manual, Procedures, Forms, Examples, Audits, Videos

On-Line Accredited Certifications

Six Sigma, Risk Management, SCRUM

All Products

Software, Videos, Manuals, On-Line Certifications