Fishbone Diagram technique for generating new ideas for profit

Fishbone Diagram (Ishikawa Diagram)


The Fishbone Diagram, also known as the Ishikawa Diagram, is a visual tool used for root cause analysis. It assists in identifying the various causes of a specific problem or effect. Named after its creator, Kaoru Ishikawa, the diagram resembles the skeleton of a fish, hence the name.

Steps to Create a Fishbone Diagram

Fishbone Diagram (Ishikawa Diagram) training
  1. Identify the Problem: Clearly state the problem or effect for which causes need to be identified.
  2. Draw the Backbone: Create a horizontal line (the “fish’s spine”) with the problem statement at the right end.
  3. Identify Major Cause Categories: Branch off the main line with diagonal lines (the “fish’s bones”). These represent different categories of potential causes, such as People, Processes, Environment, Equipment, Materials, and Methods.
  4. Brainstorm Sub-Causes: For each category, brainstorm possible causes and add them as smaller lines branching off the main category lines.
  5. Analyze and Prioritize Causes: Once all potential causes are identified, analyze them to determine which are most likely contributing to the problem.


  • Example 1: Manufacturing Defects
  • Application: Use the Fishbone Diagram to trace back the root causes of defects in a manufacturing process, considering factors like equipment malfunction, operator errors, or material quality.
  • Example 2: Customer Service Issues
  • Application: Identify the root causes of customer dissatisfaction, categorizing issues under training, policies, communication, or environmental factors.
  • Example 3: Software Development Delays
  • Application: Analyze reasons for project delays, including coding errors, requirement changes, technology constraints, or resource availability.


The Fishbone Diagram is highly effective in quality control and process improvement, as it facilitates a comprehensive analysis of potential causes of problems. It is widely used in manufacturing, healthcare, project management, and software development. The diagram helps teams systematically explore and visualize the complexity of cause-and-effect relationships, leading to more informed decision-making and problem-solving.

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