Is Ishikawa Diagram the Problem-Solving Tool for You?

Ishikawa Diagram the Problem-Solving Tool Sheza Firoz  |   2 mins read June 24, 2022 | 36 eye icon

Ishikawa Diagram, also known as the Fishbone Diagram, is a problem-solving tool used in organizational environments. It was conceptualized in 1982 by Japanese organizational theorist Kaoru Ishikawa. It allows employees to identify the causes of a problem through a visual diagram. Here is an example of a fishbone diagram, along with an overview of the pros and cons of Ishikawa’s Fishbone Diagram:

1. Strengths of the Fishbone diagram:

  • The multicausal approach of the diagram allows you to identify newer, unknown causes of the problem. 
  • Provides opportunities for visualizing the problem, increasing creative thinking. 
  • It is simple to learn, understand and use for all employees, so it requires no additional technical training or knowledge.
  • Allows you to classify the causes into different categories, encouraging relevant solution approaches to specific types of causes.
  • Allows you to enter sub-causes for each category so you can understand the full extent of the causes.
  • Enables group discussions and brainstorming sessions to identify several causes. 

2. Weaknesses of the Fishbone Diagrams:

  • Adding several causes and sub-causes can make the problem seem overwhelming and unsolvable. 
  • Possible to get stuck in the loop of finding more and more causes of the problem instead of prioritizing the leading causes and finding appropriate solutions.  
  • Only one problem can be addressed at a time with the diagram, leading to excess time and energy investment in one issue. 
  • The simple outline may not be sufficient for complex problems. 
  • It relies on opinions over hard facts in bringing up causes. 

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