Fishbone Diagram (Cause and Effect Diagram)

This short guide describes the process of using a fishbone diagram to help uncover and visualise stakeholder perceptions of the root causes of a problem. It is often used in conjunction with the 'Five Whys' technique.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Kathy Castle.

Authors and their affiliation

Project Cubicle

Year of publication


Type of resource

  • Guide

Key features

A fishbone diagram is one of the seven basic tools of quality like a pareto chart or a scatter diagram.
It was introduced by Kaoru Ishikawa as a problem solving tool. The diagram is named fishbone because of it's appearance. It is a visual technique for performing root cause analysis. Fishbone diagrams improve decision making within the team.

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;​

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

Fishbone diagrams are quite helpful to detect the root cause of a problem. I have been using fishbone diagrams with my team to improve production for a long time. We hold meetings and brainstorming sessions to detect potantial causes  which prevent us to improve the product quality.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

Fishbone diagrams are very easy to use. It is practical to create a team and make brainstorming to detect problems. Thus the team members can participate the solutions. 


Project Cubicle (2018). Fishbone Diagram (Cause and Effect Diagram). Retrieved from: ​

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A special thanks to this page's contributors
Resource Suggested By
Project control manager, PREVALUATION CO..
New York, United States of America.


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