9 Steps for Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
The Fishbone Diagram resembles a fish skeleton and is one of the most common cause-and-effect diagrams in the world of project management. The Fishbone Diagram is used as one of the many methods for analysis and can be used as a crucial tool for facing challenging problems from the Six Sigma approach.
Problems in project management must be defined through data, so they are analyzed appropriately and correct next steps are taken into action. The Fishbone Diagram is one of the root solutions for solving many problems faced by project managers.
The History of the Fishbone Diagram
The Fishbone Diagram was originally created by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa as a way of understanding the coloration between quality control systems within projects. When defining variables that cause challenges in projects, these can be labeled as either factors or causes.
Organizing Quality Control
Final deliverables in a project can be referred to as quality characteristics. The Fishbone Diagram is used for better understanding the correlations between cause and effect in problems within a project. Organizing and identifying potential roadblocks into buckets can help when needing to identify challenges down the line. This way, you are better prepared to identify potential problems for your project team and stakeholders. These categories, or buckets as referred to above, can help project managers identify potential roadblocks more easily.
Relationships Between Cause and Effects
In the Fishbone Diagram, the identified issue is placed in a box as the head of the fish. This fish head represents the impact the problem will have on all other project systems. The themes and sub-themes are then positioned to the left of the fish head.
Fishbone diagrams are created at first to identify causes and then categorize these causes into a few different themes. It is a great tool to use if you are leading a large project team with many different functions, in order to keep everyone in the loop. Stakeholders will also be able to grasp a picture of how the project is looking from an external standpoint.
A typical categorization technique is usually referred to as 5Ms and 1P. This can be used as a checklist to identify causes and themes, specifically in manufacturing industries. Next, we will explore this categorization methodology when aiming to create a Fishbone Diagram.
– Machines are potential causes related to equipment on-site. Technological causes are typically related to tools in the software sector.
– Methods are potential causes associated with the policy, approach, and practice of a project.
– Materials are potential causes related to raw materials or information systems.
– Measurements refers to potential causes related to quality and quantity, that can impact the final outcome for a client.
– Environmental factors include both internal and external factors that are related to weather issues, temperature, physical surroundings, management surroundings, or other factors project teams may encounter when on-site.
– People, stakeholders, and investors who are involved with the project, as well as the options of customers and essential business partners.
Real World Example
Next, we will take a look at the Fishbone Diagram shown in the graphic following this section. When working to understand the meaning of the diagram, you must first review what each part of the fish means. The head is typically the problem or issue your team is trying to solve. Surrounding this are potential factors that might contribute to the successful completion of the project, as well as possible solutions and workarounds.
Each of these categories aims to communicate the category of each cause, all of which have the possibility of contributing to low call quality. It is important to understand all of the metrics within this environment as a project manager so that you can successfully communicate these factors to your project team and stakeholders. The diagram shows an in-depth understanding of causes associated with high AHT. Sub-categories in this model are technical challenges, hold times, and customer service soft skills.
When analyzing the first sub-category, you will notice that this section aims to understand customer service skills. Poor customer service skills are associated as one of the sub-categories that directly lower AHT. Poor customer service skills are related to hold time and bad demeanor of customers, as shown on the chart. High hold times impact workers’ ability to do their best work and result in angry customers. Project teams must be ready to handle all possible scenarios that could contribute to high wait times resulting in irate customers. Not every solution will be actionable, but the possibility of a solution should not be left out of the Fishbone Diagram.
How Do I Construct a Fishbone Diagram?
If you want to create a Fishbone Diagram of your own, follow these steps in order to be successful.
Step #1 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
First and foremost, you must determine the characteristic or problem to be solved. Try to be as specific as possible and work with your project team and stakeholders so that everyone is in agreement.
Step #2 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
The next step is to identify the problem and write it on the head of the Fishbone Diagram. This will be the focus of the diagram, the issue that needs to be solved.
Step #3 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
Next, you will want to create a line that extends from the left of the fish to the head. This will become the spine of the Fishbone Diagram, where you will then show potential causes of the problem.
Step #4 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
You will now write all of the potential causes of each problem and relate them to group topics, which will depend on the knowledge of the problem and your data experience as a project manager, too. You will want to ask each member of your project team to contribute to the data collection sheets so that you can hold a complete brainstorming session.
Step #5 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
Come up with themes for each group. These themes can be high level in order to simplify the diagram. This will help to classify the different elements of your Fishbone Diagram.
Step #6 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
Draw a line from the spine. Identify each theme and write the category name at the end of the line, choose the one that is not attached to the spine as this will be your main Fishbone.
Step #7 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
For each theme or sub-theme, you will now draw a branch to the main fishbone. Label each branch with these themes and draw smaller bones to show the correlation to high-level categories.
Step #8 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
Be sure that your diagram is as detailed as possible. Show how each Fishbone is related and make it as easy as possible for your project team to best understand the problem you are all trying to collectively solve.
Step #9 For Constructing a Fishbone Diagram
Review your diagram and be sure there is enough detail behind each bone. You want to be as descriptive as possible so that even someone not on your project team could understand the issue you are trying to solve and potential roadblocks that could get in the way.
We hope this article helped you better understand the 9 steps in creating a Fishbone Diagram!