Learning how to stop yourself from making mistakes is very, very hard. Fishbone diagram can help you learn what is causing your mistake, and then how to root that fault out and amend it or extract it from your process. It can be a very tough job. Scholars have written books on how to overcome mistakes and amend wrongdoings. In the modern world, we can find apps or some YouTube education videos that try to explain how to improve your process and increase your success, but these videos can seem either too complicated or too easy and simplistic. Fishbone analysis may be just your tool.

What Fishbone (Ishikawa) Diagram Is

This method was devised by Japanese organizational theorist Kaoru Ishikawa in 1968. It is utilized by businesses everywhere. It is designed specifically to stop employees from solving symptoms of a problem instead of its main causes. This method is known by some as a cause and effect diagram, or the Ishikawa diagram, but mostly it’s referred to as a fishbone diagram. Haven’t you seen it yet? Prepare to learn something that will greatly influence your approach to making decisions!

If you have in mind some defect, write it down on the right side of a sheet of paper because you keep missing your goal when playing football. Your website is going down. Whatever it is, write it down on the right side of a piece of paper, this will make the head of our fish, the main defect we are facing. Draw a horizontal line starting from this defect, and going back to the left. Draw simple fish skeleton. Now add your major causes, usually, but not always, these six subgroups will be enough to represent the main possible problem sources:

· Machine

· Method

· Material

· Human Recourses

· Measurement

· Environment

Is there any problem or issue with machines or equipment? How big is the goal you are kicking into, or how large is your server for your website? What are the issues with your methods – is there an issue with the ball you are using or with the content of your website or is there a question with people involved? Are you tired, overworked or malnourished? Are these calculations done correctly? Is there an issue with your surroundings, maybe the weather is extremely cold or the working environment is not beneficial.

Start with general titles and then work out each individual issue that could fit under these headings. Each sub-problem can have its possible causes too. We see that our diagram can be as deep as we wish to cover all events leading to a general question. It depends on our problem. Even at the beginning of building this diagram, we start to gain a more well-rounded view of what is going wrong.

You may see that, possibly, you were playing football in extremely cold weather, or the content of your website is quite large and problematic. A good fishbone diagram will contain many potential problems. They will be fitted into categories and sub-categories and the diagram will look detailed and complex.

Examples of Fishbone Diagrams

You are in charge of the production of an experimental sample of a new toy car. What are you supposed to do? The particular blueprints have been made, the revolutionary materials have been ordered – everything is going great, but then, on the stage of assembly, the mistake has been found. The production manager reports that this assembly procedure failed because one part came out the wrong size. We are puzzled. Obviously, the mold for this part has some fault in it, or does it? One can waste a great amount of time on producing a new mold, only to find out that their problem lies somewhere else. How to find this answer? Trying to amend the wrong causes may cost a great amount of money and, eventually, our project itself because our competitors will produce this revolutionary product. How can you start searching for the real causes? Our fishbone diagram will help you. Here is one example:

As we can see, there can be more than one or two causes for this problem and this method will help you to get a good look at them.

Consider one more example. You are a manager of a fantastic resort hotel now, but suddenly you get the statistics that you barely make any profit while your nearby competitors prosper. Apparently, tourists choose their hotel over yours. What can be the cause? Instead of falling into a depressed mood or starting firing your stuff it will be a great idea to analyze your problem and try to find its real issues. The fishbone method will help.

Firstly, consider several main sources that can cause problems. As you see in the diagram, they are different from the previous one, because every problem can have its own categories of causes. There can be more categories. Now, when you have these categories and sub-categories, you may want to dig deeper and consider possible issues for sub-categories asking questions like “Why can it be a problem?” “How can it be a problem?” and “In what ways can it cause a problem?” There is, of course, no limit for getting deeper. It will take time. Unlike our sample picture, your real diagram must be broad enough to allow the space for all the details you can think of. You may use a fishbone diagram template. Whiteboard and markers are also good.

This way of research will save us from narrow view on our problem, from wrong actions and from misunderstanding. You will be able to work in multiple ways simultaneously. You will improve your services. On the other hand, we will be able to locate the crucial causes that keep our business from success.


The problems that will fill in your fishbone diagram can be collected in a number of ways. Be sure to use all available sources. One can get them from data sheets, analytical reviews, brainstorming or group discussions. Once you have identified each individual problem in each significant area of your process, there will appear a general view on the overall problem. You will be able to use websites that write essays for you, or, maybe, you will be able to act. As you gradually seek to solve each little problem and each little category, you will find yourself not only performing more efficiently but extracting one absolute root cause of the problem, in order to improve without turning back. This is our purpose of this diagram.

Try the fishbone method out for yourself, it can be applied to a whole range of different issues and has been being used by companies with extremely complicated processes and functionalities since its invention back in 1968. It can be used every day. The problems we face in life are not actually that big, but they are just a series of smaller issues caused by the material you are working with, the equipment you are using, the state of mind you are in and a number of other different effectors. Once you address those, you will solve your problem and get back to being a successful individual.