Cause-Effect (Ishikawa or Fishbone) Diagram

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A popular diagram used to analyze the causes of problems which provides an overview of all the possible causes. One starts at the right and lists the problem, and then extends a straight line to the left. From the line, one draws tangential lines and lists causes of the problems at the end of those lines. Lines can be drawn to the subsidiary lines as more discrete causes are considered, and so forth. In effect this is a diagrammatic version of the 5 Whys technique. One begins by saying why is there a problem. Each top level branch identifies one possible Why or cause. Then, for each branch, one asks Why that cause might exist, and creates sub-branches, one for each possibility. One continues the process, always getting more specific until one arrives at what one believes to be the ultimate (most fundamental) causes.

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