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Problem Management Overview
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Ishikawa & IT Problem Management

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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

Ishikawa & IT Problem Management

  1. 1. Ishikawa & IT Problem Management THERE’S ALWAYS MORE TO IMPROVE THAN YOU HAVE PEOPLE, TIME OR MONEY FOR. ALWAYS. Robert Wiering FROM ISHIKAWATO FITSHIKAWA
  2. 2. Copyright i © 2011 Book Publishing Co., LLC The FITshikawa at the end of this book is free from copyright, but it's always polite to tell where you found the FITshikawa and mention the author.
  3. 3. About this publication ii This publication is written for IT professionals, interested in IT Problem Management and/or Lean - IT.
  4. 4. Dedication iii This book is dedicated to my father, Piet Wiering, a professional watchmaker.
  5. 5. About the author iv Robert Wiering, BSc, is an experienced IT Process- and Problem-Manager. He has worked in the pharmaceutical and financial services industry. Robert Wiering, BSc Certified Professional Business Process Management & IT Blauwe beer 10 1704 TV Heerhugowaard The Netherlands robert.wiering@gmail.com http://www.robertwiering.com (Dutch!) http://nl.linkedin.com/in/robertwiering (Dutch!)
  6. 6. Chapter 1 Ishikawa This chapter will explain: • what an Ishikawa is • what the purpose of an Ishikawa is • how to create and use an Ishikawa • the categories in an Ishikawa • the disadvantages of an Ishikawa
  7. 7. 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. See the next page for an example. Section 1 What is an Ishikawa? 6
  8. 8. 7 Environment Machine Manpower Materials Measurement Methods Orderly workplace Job design or layout of work Surfaces poorly maintained Physical demands of the task Forces of nature / Mother Nature Defective equipment or tool Incorrect tool selection Poor equipment or tool placement Poor maintenance or design Physical work Brain work Lack of raw material Defective raw material Wrong type for job Inspection No or poor procedures Poor communications Practices are not the same as written procedures
  9. 9. An Ishikawa serves several purposes: 1. To provide structure to the cause identification effort. 2. It helps a team make sure they haven’t overlooked potential causes. 3. To document which causes the team has considered. 4. To break down (in successive layers of detail) root causes that potentially contribute to a particular effect. 5. To identify all of the contributing root causes likely to be causing a problem. 6. It helps a team decide which causes to investigate further. 7. To help teams push beyond symptoms to uncover potential root causes. 8. To ensure that a balanced list of possible causes has been generated during brainstorming. 9. To document which causes have been verified. Section 2 Purpose of an Ishikawa 8
  10. 10. A typical description on how to create and use an Ishikawa diagram looks like this. 1. Name the problem or effect of interest (in the head of the Ishikawa diagram). 2. Decide the major categories for causes and create the basic diagram on a flip chart or whiteboard. 3. Brainstorm for more detailed causes and create the diagram. 4. Review the diagram for completeness. 5. Discuss the final diagram. Identify causes you think are most critical for follow-up investigation. 6. Develop plans for confirming that the potential causes are actual causes. Section 3 How to create and use an Ishikawa diagram 9
  11. 11. The categories are grouped in the “M’s, P’s and S’s”. • The M’s are mainly used in the Manufacturing industry. • The P’s are mainly used in marketing (Product, Place, Price, Promotion). • The S’s are mainly used in the Service industry. Manufacturing: • The 5 M’s are: Machine, Method, Material, Man power/Mind power and Measurement. • The 6 M’s are: Machines, Methods, Materials, Measurements, Mother Nature (Environment) and Man power (people). • The 8 M’s are: Milieu/Mother Nature, Machine, Management/ Money power, Method, Material, Man power/Mind power, Measurement and Maintenance. Marketing: • The 4 P’s are: Policies, Procedures, People and Plant/ Technology. • 7 P’s are also used: Physical evidence, Product or Service, Process, Price, People/personnel, Place and Promotion. • The 8 P’s are: Procedures, Policies, Place, Product, People, Processes, Price and Promotion. Services: • The 4 S’s are: Suppliers, Systems, Surroundings and Skills. • Even 5 S’s exist: Surroundings, Safety, Suppliers, Skills, Systems. McKinsey: The McKinsey 7S Framework offers: Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared values, Skills, Style and Staff. Section 4 Categories in an Ishikawa diagram 10
  12. 12. 1. As a weakness, the simplicity of the Ishikawa diagram may make it difficult to represent the truly interrelated nature of problems and causes. 2. Unless you have an extremely large space on which to draw and develop the Ishikawa diagram, you may find that you are not able to explore the cause and effect relationships in as much detail as you would like to. 3. In addition, it is not very good at pointing out which of the possible causes is most likely or most important. The nature of the diagram suggests that all possible causes look equally plausible and equally important. 4. An Ishikawa diagram is based on opinion rather than evidence. This process involves a democratic way of selecting the cause, i.e. voting down the causes, which may not be an effective way of identifying causes. 5. Interactions and chronological dependence can’t be displayed. 6. No clarity in very complex problems. 7. The Ishikawa diagram is only qualitative. 8. It doesn’t show the connections between the causes. 9. The causes cannot be weighed according to their importance. 10. Clarity is lost as causes are added. 11. Ishikawa diagrams tend to be either far too simplistic or far too detailed in real world use. 12. One of the purposes (2) is “to prevent overlooking potential causes”. Step 2 in the creation of an Ishikawa diagram is “to decide the major categories for causes”. Deciding to use one of the 9 major categories means automatically overlooking other major categories with potential causes. 13. Flip charts can be moved around and in practice they are moved around and used by everybody, so a carefully build Ishikawa diagram might get lost. Flip charts are to small. 14. Whiteboards cannot be moved around as easy as flip charts, but they can be whiped out easier and if you are working Section 5 Disadvantages of an Ishikawa diagram 11
  13. 13. longer on an Ishikawa, sticky notes tend to fall off, mostly just before the cleaning lady arrives. 15. Purpose 3 and 9 are about documenting which causes the team has considered and verified. Even if you use flip charts and/or whiteboards, they are not good for documentation. In most teams I have worked in, there was a strong need to document the Ishikawa in Word or Excel or even Powerpoint. 12
  14. 14. Chapter 2 FITshikawa This chapter will explain: • how I made and tested the “FITshikawa” • how to work around most of the disadvantages of an Ishikawa diagram
  15. 15. If you follow the typical description on how to create and use an Ishikawa diagram you will use predetermined categories of causes (the M’s, and/or P’s and/or S’s) and may overlook potential categories of causes unique for your organization, project or subject (disadvantage 12). For example, a hospital may have categories that wouldn't be found in a manufacturing operation, and vice versa. Untill 2010 I worked on IT problems and followed the typical description and a combination of the M’s, P’s and S’s that seemed FIT for IT problem management. But the feeling that we were overlooking unique categories of causes for IT problem management kept coming back. In 2010 I decided to look on the internet for every Ishikawa- or fishbone diagram that was somehow related to IT problem management and printed them. I opened my laptop, started Microsoft Visio, drew the backbone and head of Ishikawa diagram. Then I took the pile of printed Ishikawa- and fishbone diagrams, looked on the prints if there were categories of causes (or causes) that were FIT for an IT problem management Ishikawa diagram. If there were categories of causes (or causes) I entered them in the FIT for IT Ishikawa. After a while I had made the FIT for ITshikawa, the FITshikawa, which is on the next page. After building the FITshikawa I have tested it, while working on more than 100 IT problems. No categories of causes, nor causes were added during that period. Because I have used the Ishikawa diagrams that were available on the internet in 2010 from others, this FITshikawa is also available for others. Feel free to use the FITshikawa when working on IT problems. If you want to have the FITshikawa in pdf- or vsd-format (for Microsoft Visio) send an e-mail to robert.wiering@gmail.com The FITshikawa works best on A3-format (297x420 mm) paper when used in brainstorming with a team. Section 1 From Ishikawa to FITshikawa 14
  16. 16. 15 Application software Environment Facilities / Environment Hardware / Network Machine / Equipment Man / Brain power Management Management system Materials Measurement Methods People / Process System software Faulty code Access / Security Change Capacity Data / Database Orderly workplace Job design or layout of work Surfaces poorly maintained Physical demands of the task Forces of nature / Mother Nature Internal Events DC External Events Access / Security Physical Failure Maintenance Change Access / Security Capacity Defective equipment or tool Incorrect tool selection Poor equipment or tool placement Poor maintenance or design Physical work Brain work Inattention to task Lack of process No or poor management involvement Other (horseplay, inattention) Stress demands Task hazards not guarded properly Poor employee involvement Poor recognition of hazard Previous identified hazards were not eliminated Training or education lacking Lack of raw material Defective raw material Wrong type for job Inspection No or poor procedures Poor communications Practices are not the same as written procedures Data / Information People Proces / Procedure Access / Security Capacity Change Data Faulty code
  17. 17. A laptop with Microsoft Visio (or an equivalent) and a beamer will solve disadvantages 2, 10, 13, 14 and 15. The beamer will give you have an extremely large space on a wall on which to draw and develop the Ishikawa diagram (2). Clarity is not lost as causes are added when using Visio. Add the new causes and re-arrange the Ishikawa diagram (10). Of course laptops and beamers can also be moved around and in practice they are moved around but not used by everybody (13 and 14). Once you have build the Ishikawa diagram with all the major categories and causes the team has considered, save the Ishikawa diagram as “XXXXXX (problem name) considered”. Then save the same Ishikawa diagram as “XXXXXX (problem name) investigated”. The team can now earmark the causes they want to investigate. Then save the same Ishikawa diagram as “XXXXXX (problem name) verified”. The team can now earmark the causes they have verified. With Microsoft Visio you can also build interrelationship diagrams. Interrelationship diagrams used in combination with an Ishikawa diagram will solve (at least partially) disadvantages 1, 3, 5, 8 and 9. Section 2 Microsoft Visio 16

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