Are you a participant?

Ishikawa Diagram Example | A Step-by-Step Guide for Effective Problem Solving | 2024 Reveal


Jane Ng 13 November, 2023 7 min read

When it comes to tackling organizational issues, a picture is worth a thousand words. Enter the Ishikawa diagram, a visual masterpiece that simplifies the art of problem-solving.

In this post, we’ll explore Ishikawa diagram example, and explore how to use this type of diagram. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to a streamlined approach for addressing the root causes that might be hindering your organization’s success.

Table Of Contents 

What Is A Ishikawa Diagram?

Ishikawa Diagram Example. Image: LMJ

An Ishikawa diagram, also known as a fishbone diagram or cause-and-effect diagram, is a visual representation used to analyze and display the potential causes of a specific problem or effect. This diagram is named after Professor Kaoru Ishikawa, a Japanese quality control statistician, who popularized its use in the 1960s.

The structure of an Ishikawa diagram resembles the skeleton of a fish, with the “head” representing the problem or effect and the “bones” branching off to depict different categories of potential causes. These categories typically include:

  • Methods: Processes or procedures that may contribute to the problem.
  • Machines: Equipment and technology involved in the process.
  • Materials: Raw materials, substances, or components involved.
  • Manpower: Human factors such as skills, training, and workload.
  • Measurement: The methods used to evaluate and assess the process.
  • Environment: The external factors or conditions that may influence the problem.

To create an Ishikawa diagram, a team or individual gathers relevant information and brainstorms potential causes within each category. This method helps identify the root causes of a problem, fostering a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. 

The visual nature of the diagram makes it an effective communication tool within teams and organizations, promoting collaborative problem-solving efforts. 

Ishikawa diagrams are widely used in quality management, process improvement, and problem-solving initiatives across various industries.

How To Make A Ishikawa Diagram

Creating an Ishikawa diagram involves a simple process of identifying and categorizing potential causes for a specific problem or effect. Here’s a concise step-by-step guide:

  • Define the Problem: Clearly articulate the problem you aim to analyze – this becomes the “head” of your fishbone diagram.
  • Draw the Fishbone: Create a horizontal line across the center of the page, extending diagonal lines for main categories (Methods, Machines, Materials, Manpower, Measurement, Environment).
  • Brainstorm Causes: Identify processes or procedures (Methods), equipment (Machines), raw materials (Materials), human factors (Manpower), evaluation methods (Measurement), and external factors (Environment).
  • Identify Sub-Causes: Extend lines under each main category to outline specific causes within each.
  • Analyze and Prioritize Causes: Discuss and prioritize identified causes based on their significance and relevance to the problem.
  • Document Causes: Write down identified causes on the appropriate branches to maintain clarity.
  • Review and Refine: Collaboratively review the diagram, making adjustments for accuracy and relevance.
  • Use Software Tools (Optional): Consider digital tools for a more polished Ishikawa diagram.
  • Communicate and Implement Solutions: Share the diagram for discussion and decision-making, using insights gained to develop targeted solutions. 

Following these steps enables the creation of a valuable Ishikawa diagram for effective problem analysis and resolution in your team or organization.

Ishikawa Diagram Example. Image:

Ishikawa Diagram Example

Looking for a Ishikawa diagram example? Here are examples of how an Ishikawa or fishbone diagram is made in various industries.

Fishbone Diagram Example Cause and Effect

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example – Cause and Effect

Problem/Effect: High website bounce rate


  • Methods: Unintuitive navigation, confusing checkout process, poorly structured content
  • Materials: Low-quality images and videos, outdated brand messaging, lack of visual appeal
  • Manpower: Insufficient UX testing, lack of content optimization, inadequate web analytics skills
  • Measurement: No defined website KPIs, lack of A/B testing, minimal customer feedback
  • Environment: Overly promotional messaging, too many popups, irrelevant recommendations
  • Machines: Web hosting downtime, broken links, lack of mobile optimization

Fishbone Diagram Example Manufacturing

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example for manufacturing

Problem/Effect: High rate of product defects


  • Methods: Outdated manufacturing processes, insufficient training on new equipment, inefficient layout of workstations
  • Machines: Equipment failure, lack of preventive maintenance, improper machine settings
  • Materials: Defective raw materials, variability in material properties, improper material storage
  • Manpower: Insufficient operator skills, high turnover, inadequate supervision
  • Measurement: Inaccurate measurements, unclear specifications
  • Environment: Excessive vibration, temperature extremes, poor lighting
Ishikawa Diagram Example. Image: EdrawMax

Ishikawa Diagram 5 Whys

Problem/Effect: Low patient satisfaction scores


  • Methods: Long wait times for appointments, inadequate time spent with patients, poor bedside manner
  • Materials: Uncomfortable waiting room chairs, outdated patient education pamphlets
  • Manpower: High clinician turnover, inadequate training on new system
  • Measurement: Inaccurate patient pain assessments, lack of feedback surveys, minimal data collection
  • Environment: Cluttered and dull facility, uncomfortable clinic rooms, lack of privacy
  • Machines: Outdated clinic equipment

Fishbone Diagram Example Healthcare

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example for healthcare

Problem/Effect: Increase in hospital-acquired infections


  • Methods: Inadequate hand-washing protocols, poorly defined procedures
  • Materials: Expired medications, defective medical devices, contaminated supplies
  • Manpower: Insufficient staff training, high workload, poor communication
  • Measurement: Inaccurate diagnostic tests, improper use of equipment, unclear health records
  • Environment: Uncleaned surfaces, presence of pathogens, poor air quality
  • Machines: Medical equipment failure, lack of preventive maintenance, outdated technology

Fishbone Diagram Example for Business

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example for business

Problem/Effect: Declining customer satisfaction


  • Methods: Poorly defined processes, inadequate training, inefficient workflows
  • Materials: Low-quality inputs, variability in supplies, improper storage
  • Manpower: Insufficient staff skills, inadequate supervision, high turnover
  • Measurement: Unclear objectives, inaccurate data, poorly tracked metrics
  • Environment: Excessive office noise, poor ergonomics, outdated tools
  • Machines: IT system downtime, software bugs, lack of support
Ishikawa Diagram Example. Image: Conceptdraw

Fishbone Diagram Environment Example

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example for the environment

Problem/Effect: Increase in industrial waste contamination


  • Methods: Inefficient waste disposal process, improper recycling protocols
  • Materials: Toxic raw materials, non-degradable plastics, hazardous chemicals
  • Manpower: Lack of sustainability training, resistance to change, insufficient oversight
  • Measurement: Inaccurate emissions data, unmonitored waste streams, unclear benchmarks
  • Environment: Extreme weather events, poor air/water quality, habitat destruction
  • Machines: Equipment leaks, outdated technology with high emissions

Fishbone Diagram Example for Food Industry

Here is a Ishikawa diagram example for the food industry

Problem/Effect: Increase in foodborne illnesses


  • Materials: Contaminated raw ingredients, improper ingredient storage, expired ingredients
  • Methods: Unsafe food prep protocols, inadequate employee training, poorly designed workflows
  • Manpower: Insufficient food safety knowledge, lack of accountability, high turnover
  • Measurement: Inaccurate expiration dates, improper calibration of food safety equipment
  • Environment: Unsanitary facilities, presence of pests, poor temperature control
  • Machines: Equipment failure, lack of preventive maintenance, improper machine settings

Key Takeaways 

The Ishikawa diagram is a potent tool for unraveling the complexities of issues by categorizing potential factors. 

To enrich the collaborative experience of creating Ishikawa diagrams, platforms like AhaSlides prove invaluable. AhaSlides supports real-time teamwork, enabling seamless idea contribution. Its interactive features, including live polling and Q&A sessions, inject dynamism and engagement into the brainstorming process.


What is the application of Ishikawa diagram with example?

Application of Ishikawa Diagram with Example:

Application: Problem analysis and root cause identification.

Example: Analyzing production delays in a manufacturing plant.

How do you write an Ishikawa diagram?

  • Define the Problem: Clearly articulate the issue.
  • Draw the “Fishbone:” Create main categories (Methods, Machines, Materials, Manpower, Measurement, Environment).
  • Brainstorm Causes: Identify specific causes within each category.
  • Identify Sub-Causes: Extend lines for detailed causes under each main category.
  • Analyze and Prioritize: Discuss and prioritize identified causes.

What are the 6 elements of fishbone diagram?

6 Elements of Fishbone Diagram: Methods, Machines, Materials, Manpower, Measurement, Environment.

Ref: Tech Target | Scribbr