Fishbone Diagram

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Also called the cause-and-effect  diagram, the fishbone diagram is one of the seven basic qualities used in project management.  This tool was developed by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa in 1960.  It is called such because the completed diagram looks like the skeleton of a fish.  The problem statement is placed at the head of the fishbone. It is also used as the starting point to track the source of the problem back to its root cause.

It is important to identify the problem statement which describes the problem or an objective that should be achieved. To create the fishbone, list the cause of the problem by asking “why” until an actionable root cause can be identified or until all the possibilities have been exhausted for the fishbone.

There are many advantages of using the fishbone diagram. One of its manage benefits is that it links the undesirable effects seen as a special variation to the assigned teams to implement different corrective actions in order to eliminate the special variation identified in the control chart.

There are six steps that are involved in creating the fishbone diagram. The first step is to draw the problem statement  followed by drawing the major cause categories. Drawing the problem statement should be done accurately because it will be the basis for the rest of the elements on the fishbone  diagram.  It is also crucial for the project managers as well as stakeholders to brainstorm cause followed by the categorizing of the causes. This will eventually lead to the determination of deeper causes to identify the root cause.

The thing is that the fishbone diagram is an exceptional method to visually depict the cause the problem.  This will help in the identification of the root cause of the problem.

This term is defined in the 5th edition of the PMBOK.

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