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You can reference the information on this page using an inline text link, or something similar to the following citation: - Wittwer, J.
Due to its simplicity, the diagram is often drawn on a white board during a brainstorm session.
I designed the above template so that it would easy for someone familiar with Excel to use during a meeting to record the ideas as they are discussed.
Then, write the problem in a box on the left-hand side of a large sheet of paper, and draw a line across the paper horizontally from the box.
This arrangement, looking like the head and spine of a fish, gives you space to develop ideas.
During a brainstorm session, this diagram is usually used very loosely, meaning that sometimes branches (what I have labeled as primary and secondary causes in the diagram below) may actually represent sub-categories of causes rather than actual causality.
When a cause and effect diagram is used to represent causality, then the primary and secondary branches taken on very specific meanings: A Primary Cause is one that could lead directly to the effect.
Fishbone Diagrams (also known as Ishikawa Diagrams) can be used to answer the following questions that commonly arise in problem solving: What are the potential root causes of a problem?
What category of process inputs represents the greatest source of variability in the process output?
The following downloads may help you get started, and if you continue reading, I've included some detailed information about how to use the diagrams.
Create a cause and effect diagram with a spreadsheet.