How Fishbone Diagrams Can Be Used To Solve Your Business Problems

Fishbone diagrams are diagnostic tools that help determine the source of a problem. They’re also known as Fish Disease Diagrams, Fish Snap Method Diagrams, and Ishikawa Diagrams.

Kaoru Ishikawa introduced the fishbone diagram as a process analysis method in 1965. They are frequently utilized during the problem-solving process to understand an issue. Here, they help determine the root causes of a problem by examining various elements that may affect it.

Although a fishbone diagram template may appear complicated, it is actually elementary and straightforward to use. Once you understand how a fishbone diagram works, you’ll find it much easier to use it to diagnose common problems.

What Is A Fishbone Diagram?

Fishbone diagrams are used to brainstorm and decide whether root causes may be identified and determined.

As such, they use both inductive and deductive reasoning. Usually, these are followed by an examination using tools like 5 Whys, which can be used if fishbones aren’t conclusive.

The fishbone diagram can be helpful when addressing complex, multi-faceted challenges at work.

How To Use A Fishbone Diagram?

When there is no clear root cause, fishbone diagrams are the most excellent way to organize the logic behind a problem. Thus, ever since they were introduced, people have been employing fishbone diagrams in their enterprises.

From industrial plants to medical institutions and from corporations to NGOs, fishbone diagrams are used in virtually all sectors of the economy. This is because they can help address business problems by providing a framework for generating ideas.

When using fishbone diagrams, try following these steps:

  • Choose the fish (what you want the fish to explain)
  • Choose the bones (the things that may impact your fish)
  • Create branches out of each bone and label them correctly when using fishbone diagrams

It consists of fish bones radiating from a fish’s head, representing major problem(s) that need to be solved.

Smaller sub-issues branch off into additional branches, forming the fishbones. Each branch can either be a verbal description or have one or more boxes representing particular activities that must be undertaken to resolve the problem.

Why Use A Fishbone Diagram?

It helps users determine the relationship between likely causes for concerns with product design or process functionality, as well as other types of business operations.

It is useful for brainstorming and discovering topics that require additional exploration. In fact, it can aid in identifying numerous potential problem sources rather than just one.

So, let’s explore some of the most compelling reasons to use a fishbone diagram!


Brainstorming is a technique for producing ideas and encouraging creativity. Fishbone diagrams’ design enables brainstorming that helps discover the sources of problems for targeted improvements.

Brainstorming usually starts with potential causes in the fishbone diagram’s center. Then, after discovering the reasons for the problem, they all should be categorized based on their relevance to the issue being investigated using the fishbone diagram framework.

Demonstrates Relationship

A fishbone diagram is a valuable tool for any business because it shows the issues you’re dealing with, including how to solve them.

Conversely, fishbone diagrams aren’t just helpful in describing what’s wrong with your product or service. Instead, they can show relationships between various phenomena related to the same problem.

When you do this, your fishbone diagram will begin to resemble a tree rather than a fish, making it much easier to grasp what you’re trying to express.


According to O’Hanlon (2005), a fishbone diagram helps people think clearly about a problem by organizing their thoughts into a structure, allowing them to come up with alternative answers.

Thanks to this, fishbone diagrams are frequently used to solve challenges connected with quality management and continuous improvement.

Sustains Focus

When you’re first starting with fishbone diagrams, it can be tempting to list all possible causes for your problem.

However, the list can quickly become overwhelming once you write things down. With too many options, it becomes difficult to focus on anything feasible.

Therefore, maintain your concentration when utilizing fishbone diagrams by reducing the number of probable reasons while still coming up with enough ideas and innovations.

Drawbacks Of Using A Fishbone Diagram

While fishbone diagrams can help produce solutions and detect problems (for example, brainstorming methods to reduce waste), they have some disadvantages that should be considered before utilizing them.

The following are the most common ones:

  • They are only effective if all team members are present at the meeting where the fishbone structure is constructed.
  • For larger teams, finding the time when everyone can come together might be challenging.
  • The larger a project is, the more complex the coordination becomes.

How To Create A Fishbone Diagram?

First and foremost, you’ll need to acquire some information regarding the topic of your diagram. This could encompass anyone or anything involved in the process from beginning to end.

They’re made by first writing the problem you seek to solve in the diagram’s center. Then, you develop several potential causes for this issue.

After that, you break each reason down even further into smaller sub-causes and so on; until you have enough sub-causes that can be solved independently.

After that, compile a list of the factors that may have contributed to the situation.

Write down as many as you can, even if they appear unrelated at first, and share your list with others so that they can help you brainstorm more ideas.

With this, you’re ready to overcome any obstacle that lies between you or your organization’s success!