What is a Fishbone Diagram, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Fishbone Diagram
A Fishbone Diagram is considered one of half a dozen basic quality monitoring frameworks used to capture possible causes of a problem. The main purpose of a fishbone diagram is to help managers and leaders identify possible causes and effects for a specific problem. It is often used to support the structuring of brainstorming sessions to determine as many possible causes of a problem as possible before attempting to come up with a specific solution. For this reason, the Fishbone Diagram template is most often used during the Analyze segment of the DMAIC cycle.
Description of Fishbone Diagram Template
The Fishbone Diagram Template should be used when attempting to identify possible causes of a problem or when a team’s thinking has grown stagnant or unimaginative. Carrying out a brainstorming exercise while utilizing the Fishbone Diagram template will help inspire creative and critical thinking with a cause and effect problem solving framework.
When starting a Fishbone Diagram exercise, you should follow the following procedure:
- Define the problem statement. The team should come together to agree on the main problem (effect) being experienced by the organization, customer, client, etc. Brainstorm categories related to the cause of the problem. These may be (but should not be limited to):
- Add these categories as labels to the branches coming off of the main arrow in the Fishbone Diagram.
- Brainstorm any and all causes related to the problem. Continue to ask the group “why does this happen?” and then wait for a response. The facilitator of this exercise should act as note taker, writing the cause as an additional branch coming off of each relevant category.
- Continue asking questions and pushing the team to come up with alternative causes to the problem. Once you have exhausted ideas from the group, focus attention on the categories where there has not been a lot of activity. Try to fill in the gaps where possible.
Upon completing the Fishbone Diagram, you will have a graphical representation ready for further analysis of the cause-and-effect relationship related to the business problem you are trying to solve. In addition to creating a powerful graphic and visual representation of the problem, working together as a team has provided an opportunity for the project team to uncover the true problem in order to define better solutions and alternatives.
Tools & Templates
The tools managers used to enable the Fishbone Diagram are brainstorming sessions, insights reports, and voice of customer analysis.
upBOARD's Online Fishbone Diagram Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional process checklists and problem solving models, upBOARD’s online Fishbone Diagram model tool allows any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s portfolio of other business strategy best practice tools and templates, including:
2 X 2 Matrix, ADL Matrix, Affinity Diagrams, Baker’s 4 Strategies of Influence, Balanced Scorecard, Benchmarking, Blue Ocean Strategy, Bowman Strategy Clock, Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop, Business Model Canvas, CAGE Distance Framework, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Contingency Planning, Core Competence Analysis, Critical Success Factors, Discovery Driven Planning, Economic Value Added, First Mover Advantage, Five Forces Model, Force Field Analysis, Gap Analysis, GE McKinsey 9-Box Matrix, Go To Market Strategy, Hambrick & Frederickson’s Strategy Diamond, Hedgehog Model, Hook Model of Behavioral Design, Hoshin Planning System, Kay’s Distinctive Capabilities Framework, Key Outcome Indicators, Kotler’s Five Product Levels Model, Kotler’s Pricing Strategies, Lafley & Martin’s Five Step Strategy Model, McKinsey 7S Model, McKinsey’s Seven Degrees of Freedom for Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions, Mission Statements, Mullin’s Seven Domains Model, OGSM Framework, Ohmae’s 3-C’s Model, Partner Relationship Management, PEST Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Porter’s Diamond, Portfolio Management, Purpose Statements, Pyramid of Purpose, Scenario Planning, Simonson & Rosen’s Influence Mix, SMART Performance Metrics, SMARTER Goals, SOAR, Strategic Goals, Strategy Map, Strategy Roadmap, Strategy Uncertainty Map, SWOT Analysis, TOWS Matrix, Triple Bottom Line, USP Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, Value Disciplines Model, Value Net Model, Values Statement, Vision Statements, VRIO Analysis, and Weisbord’s Six-Box Model.