Fishbone Tool for Project Issues

A more visual way to look at cause and effect. It takes a more structures approach to brainstorming causes of a problem.

  • Easy to use, just fill-in the blanks
  • Flexible, add or delete content
  • Illustrative example included
  • Available – Instant download



A Fishbone Diagram is a structured brainstorming tool used to assist in coming up with potential root causes for an undesirable effect. Its name alludes to the bone structure of a fish. The causes are grouped into major categories. The Fishbone Diagram serves to improve processes and prevent problems.

Steps in completing a Fishbone Diagram:

1. At the head/mouth of the fish: Write down a problem statement (effect).
2. On the bigger bones of the fish: Brainstorm the major categories of causes of the problem, typically within the following generic headings:
3. On the smaller bones of the fish: For each category, ask “Why does this happen?” and write down these more detailed causes.

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