Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
A cause and effect diagram, also known as an Ishikawa or "fishbone" diagram, is a graphic tool used to explore and display the possible causes of a certain effect. Use the classic fishbone diagram when causes group naturally under the categories of Materials, Methods, Equipment, Environment, and People. Use a process-type cause and effect diagram to show causes of problems at each step in the process.
A cause and effect diagram has a variety of benefits:
- It helps teams understand that there are many causes that contribute to an effect.
- It graphically displays the relationship of the causes to the effect and to each other.
- It helps to identify areas for improvement.