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Problem Solving - Continued Print
We continue our series on problem solving. This issue we show tools used in identifying causes and effects. The Ishikawa Diagram and the Interrelationship Diagram.

Ishikawa Diagram

A systematic way of looking at the causes and the effects of a problem and how they relate to each other.
Alternative names : 'Cause and Effect' or 'Fishbone' diagrams.

ishigawa diagram


The key to success is to include in the team people who are actually involved with the problem or problematic process.

- Start by writing the problem statement on a piece of paper.
- Draw a horizontal line on a whiteboard
- At one end of the horizontal line write down the effect.
- Brainstorm all possible causes
- Group the causes into suitable categories. For example:
- the eight P's, normally used in the service industry, People, Place, Policies, Processes, Procedures, Product, Price, Promotion
- the six M's, used in the manufacturing industry, Men, Methods, Materials, Machines, measurement, Mother nature
- the four S's,used in the service industry, Surroundings, Suppliers, Systems, Skills.

- Add the causes to the diagram under the main headings.
- Then add minor causes to the main causes as off-shoots frm th main causes.
- Choose the most likely root cause for further investigation

The Ishikwawa Diagram is named after Kaoru Ishikwawa (1915 - 1989), a Japanese professor of engineering and one of the Founding Fathers of modern quality management.


Interrelationship Diagram

The interrelationship diagram is helpful when the causes and effects are difficult to analyse. Especially when the process under investigation is complex and involves several entities.

interrelationship diagram


- Start by writing each possible cause on a separate card and then stick the cards on a whiteboard in the shape of a circle.
- Begin at any card and ask the question, "Which other cards are caused or influenced by this card?"
- Draw a line between the related cards and show the arrow head pointing towards the card which is affected.
- Repeat same process for all cards
- Count the "in" arrows and the "out" arrows.

- The cause with the most "out" arrows is probably one of the root causes.


PROJECTmagazine (c) 2008

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