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An Ishikawa diagram is also known as a fishbone diagram, herringbone diagram, cause-and-effect diagram or “FIshikawa” (concatenation of Fishbone and Ishikawa).
The Ishikawa diagram is sometimes called a fishbone because it resembles the skeleton of a fish.
An Ishikawa diagram is an effective thinking tool that helps a team organize their ideas about potential causes of a problem.
The team’s problem statement is named in the head of the fish, with potential causes arranged in categories linked to the head.
The smallest categories are the most specific types of causes that contribute to the next larger level of category, and so on.
Ishikawa diagrams do not tell you which of the potential causes is the culprit. They are just a good way for the team to document which categories have been considered, which have been targeted for further investigation, and, ultimately, which have been verified.
An Ishikawa diagram is named after Kaoru Ishikawa (1915-1989).
The first diagram was used by Kaoru Ishikawa in 1943 to explain to a group of engineers at the Kawasaki Steel Works how various work factors could be sorted and related.
The Ishikawa diagram is one of the seven basic tools of quality.
Robert Wiering, BSc
Certified Professional Business Process Management & IT