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In a previous blogpost we elaborated on the first Lean technique in the Measure Phase (M in DMAIC). This post will focus on the Ishikawa diagram, better known as the Fishbone Diagram.
What is it?
The Fishbone diagram is a technique designed to map the potential causes of a problem. The Fishbone diagram is named after its shape and it is also referred to as the cause-result diagram. The power of this technique lies in looking at the problem from different perpectives. This allows for an organized and visual way to look for potential causes. Because of the way it is set up, the discussion is unlikely to get stuck in the most obvious causes. You can use the Fishbone diagram in a workshop setting.
The problem statement is determined; this is the starting point.
Group members individually think about potential causes of the problem.
The potential causes written on yellow sticky notes are collected in LeanCoach. The yellow sticky notes are entered into the Fishbone according to the main categories of the bones: - Human: causes related to knowledge and employee skills. - Machine: causes related to machines, infrastructure or ICT. - Method/process: causes related to process design and standard procedures. - Materials: causes related to (clean) process input and correct information. - Management: causes related to management and support of process and organization.
Next, the group discusses each ’bone’ to expand on the causes.
Once the Fishbone diagram is complete, the group determines which yellow sticky notes should be flagged. The flagged notes are elaborated on in the course of the improvement trajectory.
Tips and best practices
Prior to the Fishbone group session, make clear agreements about the time schedule.
Try to avoid spending too much time on one single bone; try to discuss all bones equally.
Doing both a brainstorm session and applying the Fishbone technique is often unnecessary. Make a practical choice between these techniques.