How to use a Cause-Effect Diagram for Six Sigma

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How to use a Cause-Effect Diagram for Six Sigma

This lesson covers the Cause-Effect diagram, also known as the Fishbone and/or Wishbone diagram. The Cause-Effect Diagram is:

  1. A Root cause tool
  2. Offers differing qualitative opinions
  3. A brainstorming tool
  4. Visually displays potential causes of effects
  5. Useful in a group where there is little quantitative data

The Cause-Effect diagram affords a more human-sided solution as people by nature prefer to solve a problem by utilizing data.

To construct a Fishbone Diagram, take the following steps:

  1. State the problem
    1. For example: Why is the help desk trouble ticket rate closure so low?
      1. Place this at the ‘head’ of the fishbone
  2. Begin with the most likely root cause or source of the problem. For each cause, ask ‘why’ up to five times. Circle 1-5 root causes.
  3. Several lines are used to form the ‘bones’ coming off the center at an angle
  4. These ‘bones’ or branches are labeled with different categories
  5. The categories are situation dependent and can use more of the Six Sigma standard options
  6. Verify the root causes by using data in the Pareto or Scatter Diagrams

When using the Cause and Effect Diagram, remember the four Ps of the Service Industry as well as the 6 Ms of manufacturing:

  1. Polices
  2. Procedures
  3. People
  4. Plant/Technology

The 6 Ms:

  1. Machines
  2. Methods
  3. Materials
  4. Measurements
  5. Mother Nature (environment)
  6. Manpower (people)

The Cause-Effect diagram is a great brainstorming tool which captures ideas graphically and analyzes problems systematically.

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