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Fishbone Diagrams vs 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis

Fishbone Diagrams

The Fishbone diagrams, which are also called as the Ishikawa diagrams, or Cause and Effect 

Neugezeichnetes Diagramm nach Vorlage von Benu...

diagrams, are a valuable tool for the identification of all the potential reasons of a specific trouble. The likely causes are categorized in a methodical and graphical structure. The map symbolizes the fish bone composition. A box located at the head includes the problem statement. The backbone has various branches to indicate the grouping of problems. Every branch has boxes for listing particular problems. Every box can diverge externally, and the features are increased. There is no firm structure regarding the nature and number of branches. Some fishbone diagrams concerning manufacturing business employ 5 branches signifying Man, Machine, Materials, Methods, and Measurement, while some utilize 8 branches for Procedures, People, Price, Promotion, Processes, Plant, Product, and Policies.

5 Whys of Root Cause Analysis

This is a technique which discovers cause and effect relations to probe the problem root cause. The process involves inquiring the potential cause of the fundamental indicators, and obtaining additional information, to investigate at depth. The figure 5 is random, based on the postulation that asking why 5 times generally offers the final root cause. The technique does not limit the questions to 5 whys. Presume a difficulty as consumers waiting at store, for extensive duration. The obvious cause is inadequate number of counters to manage the customers during peak hours, or badly taught clerical staff. A 5 why analysis may recognize somewhat unusual as the root cause. This process necessitates determining as to why the clients have to stop for long durations at the counters. The reply may be that a large number of clients do shopping at the store. This reply directs another question, as to why the clients do shopping during the peak hours. The response may be reasonable cost, and products of a high quality. The questions are repeated till the ultimate root cause of the problem is established.


The dissimilarity between fishbone diagrams and 5 whys root cause analysis is basically the approach. Normally, the fishbone diagrams assist as a helpful process for the application of 5 whys. Every branch is used to collect all the whys, in a simple format. This permits the decision makers to concentrate on the whys, and recognize the root cause.

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