Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram Types

There are many ways to use the Ishikawa diagram. You can analyze root causes using the classic format, step-by-step format, or a custom format. An Ishikawa or fishbone diagram always contains:

  • The head of the fish (problem statement)
  • One or more major "bones" or causes
  • A series of smaller "bones" coming off the main bones to show the "Five Whys" used to identify the cause-effects.

Classic Fishbone Diagram

People, process, machines, materials, and measurement are the major causes.

generic fishbone


Process Ishikawa Diagram

Each step of the process is a major cause.

process fishbone


Custom Ishikawa Diagram

Use the generic categories but adapt them to your process: service representative, service order, software systems, reference manuals, and access.

custom fishbone

The final product might look like this:

Ishikawa fishbone diagram example


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