What is and how to create an Ishikawa Diagram?
What is it?
Ishikawa Diagram is a tool intended to help the team to get to the actual causes of problems overtaking the processes. In other words, the purpose is to find out which factors result in an undesired situation in the organization.
It was created by Chemical Engineer Kaoru Ishikawa in 1943, and may also be referred to as cause and effect diagram, fishbone diagram or 6M. Those names are justifiable by the goal, shape and categories of the method itself.
As it is a visual tool, Ishikawa Diagram is widely used to help team organizing and reasoning. By means of its graphic representation, it helps the team to get to the root causes that decrease productivity in the organization.
What are the benefits it brings to the organization?
The diagram, as a graphic, simple to build and easy to understand representation, brings several benefits to the organization and to the team using it, some of which are as follows:
- Better perception on problems;
- Identification of possible causes;
- Ranking the causes found;
- Visual record making future analyses easier;
- Processes improvement;
- Exploiting problem unfolding;
- Involving the whole team in quality management;
- Group ideas organization.
Ishikawa Diagram and effect brings a lot of benefits to companies, when put to good use. It may be used in conjunction with other methodologies, such as brainstorming meetings, which potentiate the meetings output and help the team to present their ideas and point-of-views.
Thus, it is important to take some limitations and requirements into account, for a good development. For instance, the method on its own does not identify how serious causes are. And also, it requires orderly people, able to coordinate meetings and having leadership characteristics, so as to unfold the tool.
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How to create an Ishikawa Diagram?
You have already noticed how it may be useful, so let’s learn how to create one! Follow the steps below:
- Define the problem to be analyzed by the team;
- Draw a horizontal arrow pointing right and put a square at the end of it;
- Write your core problem inside that square;
- Draw diagonal lines long the arrow extension, which will be the categories of your causes found;
- Brainstorm with your team to define possible causes. That is the longest and demanding part of the method, thus, it is important to focus on your details, so as it is done right;
- Within the categories defined by the team, enter the causes found;
- You may list them according to their seriousness or relevance. A good tool to help that ranking process is the Prioritization Matrix.
To create the categories in step 4, you may create your own, in keeping with each specific requirement. You may also follow 6M logic, which are the original categories in the method:
Method: how does the way the work is developed impacts the problem?
Machine: how does equipment used in the process impact the problem?
Measurement: how do the metrics used to measure the activity development impact the problem?
Mother Nature: how do the environment where the activity is developed impacts the problem?
Material: how do quality and type of materials used impact the problem?
Manpower: how do people involved in the activity impact the problem?
One of the most common mistakes the companies make is letting small problems and failures interfere with their processes, without going deep into or fighting back their causes. That eventually deteriorates their routine, leading to losses and making the company less and less productive.
As one of the most important tools for quality management, using the Ishikawa Diagram helps keeping those activities at constant improvement, and making their problems easier to be solved, from the simplest to the most complex ones.
It is a multipurpose, easy-to-understand and easy-to-view tool, improving team understanding of all the processes. Additionally, it may be used throughout the areas in organizations from all segments, thus, investing in that kind of management is one of the ways to success!
When using the Improvement Opportunities in our strategy execution software, you have total access to Ishikawa Diagram and other advanced problem analysis and solution tools. Thus, you may better spot organization failures and sort them out in an effective way.