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5 Steps to build a Fishbone Diagram

Posted by Chris On July 11, 2010 8 COMMENTS

The Fishbone Diagram has many names like “Problem Analysis Tool”, “Cause effect identification tool” and “Root cause Analysis Tool”.

What is a Fishbone diagram?

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, a Japanese quality control statistician, invented the Fishbone Diagram. The Fishbone Diagram is an analysis tool that provides a systematic way of looking at effects and the causes that create or contribute to those effects. The design of the diagram looks much like the skeleton of a fish. Therefore, it is often referred to as the fishbone diagram.

Cause effect diagram is used to assist teams in categorizing the many potential causes of problems or issues that may exist in Business or even in day to day life, in an orderly way and in identifying root causes.

As problems come in many shapes and sizes, fishes also come in such an amazing variety of shapes and sizes that there is no ‘typical’ fish skeleton, So the Fishbone can be of any shape and size.

Cause Effect identification using FishBone Diagram

When should a Fishbone Diagram be used?

  • To get a holistic and logical representation of a problem broken down into a pictorial format.
  • To study a problem/issue and to determine the root cause?
  • To study all the possible reasons why a process is beginning to have difficulties, problems, or breakdowns?
  • To Arrive at a Solution to any problem.
  • To Simplify a process flow.
  • To study why a process is not performing efficiently or producing the desired results?

Time required will be approximately half an hour to 6 Hrs, depending upon the problem and how deep you would like to analyze the problem.

This method can be used in a team of  8 to 14 people to identify the root cause of the problem. You can take a look at my fishbone diagram case study.

Steps to Construct a Fishbone Diagram

  1. Draw the fishbone diagram. We could build the cause effect diagram using PowerPoint, This Site has Excellent Graphics, which can be used to build a good Presentation.
  2. List the problems/issues to be studied in the “head of the fish”.
  3. Label each “bone” of the “fish”. The major categories typically utilized are:
  • In a manufacturing situation you can use the 6M’s as branch headings(or Bone Headings)  to get you started.
    • Machines, Methods, Materials, Measurement, Man and Mother Nature (the environment)
  • In an office environment you can use the 8P’s.
    • Price, Promotion, People, Processes, Place, Policies, Procedures, Product.
  • Or The 4S’s:
    • Surroundings, Suppliers, Systems, Skills.

4. You may use one of the above  suggested  categories or combine them in any fashion or make up your own. The categories are basically to help you organize your ideas.

  • Use an idea-generating technique (e.g. brainstorming) to identify the factors within each category that may be affecting the problem/issue or effect being studied.
  • Repeat this procedure with each factor under the category to produce sub-factors. Continue asking, “Why is this happening?” and put additional segments each factor and subsequently under each sub-factor.
  • Continue until you no longer get useful information as you ask, “Why is that happening?”
  • Analyze the results of the cause effect diagram after team members agree that an adequate amount of detail has been provided under each major category. Do this by looking for those items that appear in more than one category. These become the ‘most likely causes”.

5. For those items identified as the “most likely causes“, the team should reach consensus on listing those items in priority order with the first item being the “most probable” cause.

Web site Selling Fishbone (Cause & Effect Diagrams) Diagram PowerPoint Templates

We at Jazzpresentation have done research and have found the following Sites which provide Fishbone diagram PowerPoint templates.


This site has one Good set of PowerPoint template. The Slide deck collection it  has 12 different formats. Background Shades available are dark and light.  This Business Presentation Slide deck is priced at 12 USD.
Smile Templates Cause and Effect

Click here to visit the site to visit the site for more details. Use the search window to search for the Slide deck using string “fishbone”.


Click here to go to the then use the search window with Fishbone diagram, which will fetch you fishbone diagram PowerPoint templates.
Two different collections are available in the site.

Slide Deck 1: Priced at 42 USD and has collection 16 colourful slides.

Powered Templates Cause and Effect

Slide Deck 2: Priced at 40 USD and has collection 15 colorful slides.

Powered Templates Cause and Effect


Click here to go to CrystalGraphics page and then select PowerPoint Template on the left hand side menu. In the search window key in “fishbone” and click on Find Button.

Crystal Graphics Cause and Effect

The Pricing at is based on subscription. Subscriptions are available at for 1year at 99 USD, 2 years at 149USD and 3 years at  175 USD.


Click here to go to In the Top right hand corner search window key in “Fishbone” and click on search button.

Slide World Cause and Effect

This slide deck from is prices at 24.95 USD and has a collection 10 different formats of Cause effect diagram.

You can check out the example Fishbone Diagram Case Study that I have created.

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