Understanding What is a Fishbone Diagram as a Tool for Troubleshooting.

What is a fishbone diagram as per Process Excellence

 

In this article, you will learn what is fishbone diagram and how to use it in process excellence, lean six sigma, and lean manufacturing activities.

FISHBONE DIAGRAM DEFINITION

A Fishbone Diagram (also called a Cause and Effect Diagram or Ishikawa Diagram) is a visualization tool for categorizing the potential causes of a problem in order to identify its root causes. sigma definitions

This lean six sigma tool is considered one of the seven basic quality tools in process excellence. The fishbone diagram describes the most probable causes for an effect or problem.

It is important to do not confuse the problem with the cause of the problem.  In medicine, for example, fever and pain are the effects and symptoms of a problem.  Meanwhile, viral infection and trauma may be the root causes.

DEFINE WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

A problem is defined as the effect, symptom, observed behavior, failure or error that is triggered and caused by one or more root causes.

The advantages of the fishbone diagram are that can be used to structure a brainstorming session. Because you can sort ideas into useful categories.  It is recommended to use this tool for just one problem at a time.

NOTE: Highly experienced people can combine more than one problem in the same Fishbone diagram.

WHEN IS RECOMMENDED TO USE A FISHBONE DIAGRAM

Suitable when a team of persons shall be involved in brainstorming to evaluate one complex problem.

When required the identification of all possible or potential causes for a problem.

When a team’s thinking tends to fall into ruts.

INSTRUCTIONS TO PREPARE A FISHBONE DIAGRAM (CAUSE AND EFFECT DIAGRAM)

  1. Describe one problem at the time to be analyzed in the center of the diagram. Agree with your team on a problem statement (effect). Write it at the center-right of the diagram. Draw a box around it and draw a horizontal arrow running to it.
  2. During the brainstorming, describe the major categories of causes of the problem. Some companies use specific headings for their categories but other companies use generic headings, such as:
    • Methods
    • Machines (equipment)
    • People (manpower)
    • Materials
    • Measurement
    • Environment
  1. Describe the categories of causes as branches from the main arrow of the fishbone.
  2. Make a brainstorming of ideas related to all the possible causes of the problem. Determine the origin of the problem considering “Why does this happen?” Then, write each idea or possible root cause as a subbranch from the appropriate category.  As applicable, feel free to write the root cause(s) in several subbranches or places if they apply to more than one category.
  3. Apply the 5 Why’s an approach, repeating again the question(s) of “Why this problem happen?” about each cause previously defined. Feel free to write sub-causes branching off the causes. Once applying the 5 Why’s the approach and asking “Why?” in the brainstorming generate deeper levels of causes. Each layer of branches represents a causal relationship.
  4. Once all ideas are considered during the brainstorming with your team responding all why’s this problem happens, then, pay attention to all causes on the branches with more probability to occur, to assign the top three most probable causes and priority number for further evaluation.

FISHBONE DIAGRAM EXAMPLE

The following fishbone diagram was prepared to understand a particular problem of bioburden contamination in medical device products found out of specifications. During the brainstorming were used the six generic headings to present the probable root causes and ideas. As you can see the layers of branches show thorough thinking about the causes of the problem.

Bioburden Fishbone Diagram
Bioburden Fishbone Diagram

 

For example, under the heading “Machines,” the idea “maintenance” and “validation” can show several kinds of equipment and then several specific machine models.

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REFERENCES: What is a Fishbone Diagram.

httpss://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_Six_Sigma

httpss://www.greycampus.com/blog/quality-management/a-brief-introduction-to-lean-and-six-sigma-and-lean-six-sigma

httpss://asq.org/quality-resources/fishbone

Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

Ramon Cayuela, MS, BS, Chemical Engineering

CIQA President and CEO.
I've been working in validation engineering since 1992 with many multinational pharmaceutical companies. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others. If you have any questions about anything (or just have general questions). I will be more than happy to assist you. You can count on the BEST customer service on CIQA. I go to great lengths to make sure my clients are 100% satisfied with their purchases and check emails/messages consistently throughout the day. You can rest assured that everything being sold here is as-described or your money back. I look forward to working with you!