Fishbone diagrams – also known as Ishikawa diagrams – are diagrams that help to distinguish the cause and effect of a problem.
The diagram is visually displayed like a fish bone, with the spine separating cause from effect and the problem replacing the head of the fish. The spine branches out into organised categories to find a solution. Fishbone diagrams are often also called cause and effect diagrams as they are successful brainstorming tools used to find a solution to a problem.
Fishbone diagrams are often used to brainstorm problems and their potential root causes. They help to clarify a problem’s cause and effect in a visual way, and sort ideas into categories to further be explored. Fishbone diagrams are useful to communicate problems and solutions to a large team as they are easy to read and create. The diagrams are useful when trying to present an alternative point of view of a problem, and therefore are successful tools in a PowerPoint presentation.
Japanese Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa originally created the first design of the fishbone diagram. His fishbone diagram was popularised in the 1960’s as he pioneered for quality management processes in shipyards. From here, fishbone diagrams have been considered to be a basic tool required for quality control.
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