Fishbone diagrams are used widely to identify root causes and to find potential solutions. In this article, we try to provide free and editable fishbone diagram templates in powerpoint, excel, and Visio formats. These templates are then followed by how you can use fishbone diagram template in healthcare and manufacturing industries with specific examples. 


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What is a fishbone diagram? 
Fishbone diagram is a diagram based approach for systems thinking. Fishbone diagram is a tool that helps us in exploring the things that could “cause” a problem, i.e., the “effect.”

About fish bone diagram:

Fishbone diagram was developed by Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa in the year 1943. Hence this diagram is also popularly known as “Ishikawa Diagram.”This technique pushes us to consider all possible causes of a problem, i.e., the effect; this is frequently referred to as “Cause and effect” diagram.

How is this useful?

  • To identify the potential root causes of a problem
  • To identify bottlenecks in the processes

A visual tool for organizing critical thinking, thereby helping us in finding the process improvement methods.

Free Fishbone Diagram Templates (PPT) for Download

Designed in-house from Demplates.com

Fishbone diagram template powerpoint

The template has an image of cute fish with its mouth and tail fin in royal blue color. The eyes are in hues of green and blue. The rest of the body of the fish along with fins is in light steel blue consisting of a spine in blue with three dots in red, green and yellow. From each of the dots, there are two slanting lines on both sides. There you can add text for demonstrating the cause-effect process.

fishbone diagram template 1downloadFishbone diagram template 2

With a small mouth in front of which you need to write your effect, the template features the categories of causes in white on a blue background. There are four colored dots on the spine that makes the template appealing. The attractive template is ideal for showcasing causes of some positive effect.fishbone diagram template 2

downloadFishbone diagram template 3

The template features only the mouth and the tail fin of a fish along with spines, at the rear end of each there are spherical shapes to write the causes of the effect.The fish is in steel blue color while the spherical shapes are in sky blue with text in contrasting white.fishbone diagram template 3downloadFishbone diagram template 4

Are you looking desperately for a fishbone diagram template by which you can demonstrate the multiple causes of a poor quality product or accurate inventory? If yes, such effects are best to be demonstrated by this awesome template in a combination of black, white and blue. The template has ample space to include the causes in as many as twelve different spherical shapes.fishbone diagram template 4downloadFishbone diagram template 5

The template has a fish colored in an unconventional green beige with its spine in black. It has dedicated space to include causes of an effect in eight different categories on a white background. The template is best suitable for depicting causes for late arrival at work or poor customer retention.fishbone diagram template 5downloadFishbone diagram template 6

The template features an image of a big fish in black on a white background with fins and tail fin. The spine of the fish, however, is in contrasting white with four dots at equal distance. You have ample space to write the causes in white on a black background. However, you can always customize the template as per your preferred color to depict the cause-effect relationship.fishbone diagram template 6downloadFishbone diagram template 7

The template is a cute one with a diagram of fish in dark red depicting only the mouth with a big eye, spine and a tail fin on a white background. There are again three horizontal lines from each of the spine bones to depict the sub-causes of the effect.fishbone diagram template 7downloadFishbone diagram template 8

The template is extremely simple and features an image of fish with scales on its body in light red on a white background. The spine is in orange, and at the rear end of each spine bone, lies a spherical shape with a red border to include the causes.fishbone diagram template 8downloadFishbone diagram ppt

With attractive colors like gold yellow in the mouth and different shapes of red on the body, the template looks an attractive one and features the tail fin in contrasting black on a white background. The spine is however in yellow, and there is enough space to write the text in six categories in white fonts on a red background. This is best to demonstrate a positive effect, like a rise in productivity or something likewise.fishbone diagram pptdownloadFishbone diagram template 10

The template features a brilliant combination  of black and red on a white background to establish the cause and effect relationship. The red dotted spine bones and dedicated space to include the causes in red spherical shapes make this template an adorable one.fishbone diagram template powerpointdownload

Fishbone Diagram Template in Visio

fishbone diagram template visio

Visio is another MS office tool used widely to draw official diagrams and flowcharts. You can use Visio to create a fishbone diagram in short time. To start with you may choose to use our template showcased in the above picture. Download this fishbone diagram template in Visio from here.

Fishbone diagram designing tips

As the name suggests, the fish bone diagram includes a central “spine” and several branches reminiscent of a fish skeleton.

The problem is to be written in a box on one side of the space where you are working (a piece of paper or the whiteboard), then draw the “backbone of the fish,” i.e., a line across, horizontally from the box. Now, this looks like head and spine of a fish.

  • Firstly, write the problem statement at the mouth of the fish i.e., in the text box.
  • Now, write down the major categories of causes of the problem in the branches of the central arrow.
  • Now, start brainstorm sessions with concerned people posting questions like “Why does this happen?” The facilitator should note down the factors under each category.
  • Now discuss again the causes in the subcategory.
  • Make as many branches as needed according to the evolving ideas.
  • Now start discussing each issue and zero in the main factors.

Tips for efficient use of Fishbone analysis

  • Choose a large board so that you will have enough space to write down various causes.
  • While drawing the branches, make sure enough space is left to note the minor details of each cause.
  • Discuss the issue as detailed as possible so that no reason is missed out.
  • The facilitator should encourage the team members to actively participate in the brainstorming activity. Only then it is optimally carried on.
  • Keep asking “why” until you get the cause.
  • Once this is achieved start discussion on the root-cause.
  • Sometimes there could be more than one root cause.
  • Bear this in mind and get along with further discussion.

Procedure to use fishbone diagram template for root cause analysis

Once the problem is defined correctly, categorize the causes, according to functions or by process sequence. Now we need to have categories and subcategories of the potential root causes. Identifying these types be achieved by having a brainstorming with a group of concerned members or any information obtained by data from relevant sources.

One should remember that the usefulness of a Fish-bone Diagram is dependent upon the level of development of causes and ideas.

Now that we have a diagram showing all of the possible causes of the problem start investigating the most likely causes further and analyze the problem in all possible ways by either setting up investigations or by carrying out surveys, or by any method that best suits the kind of problem.

Creating Fishbone diagram template in Excel

Step 1:

Let us begin with the construction of the backbone, i.e., the central arrow. In the Excel ribbon, go to Insert tab—> Shapes–> Block arrows. In the block arrows, preferably, select the first arrow.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-1

Place the arrow in the middle of the spreadsheet after elongating it. Once the arrow is placed, it can be moved to the desired location, and the size can also be adjusted.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-2

If any further changes are to be made, Go to Format tab, and choose from the different options available.

Step 2:

Now it’s time to start drawing the sidelines to the main arrow. For this, go to Insert tab–>Shapes–>Lines. Now choose the second one in the row, the single-headed arrow.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-3

Now, adjust the size and angle of the line by clicking on and dragging at one of the endpoints.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-4

To make the line wider, select Format Shape by clicking right on the object.

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To Modify the value of width, choose line style from Format Shape dialog box.

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This is how the diagram looks so far.

Step 3: Add the additional number of lines to the central arrow as shown below.  Adjust the angle of the lines as desired from size and properties of the size tab.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-7

Step 4: Now add a text box to write the cause. For this function, go to Insert tab, click on the text box. To adjust the size of the text box, click and drag any of the corners.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-8

Step 5 (creating the final fishbone diagram template in Excel) :

Now create an additional number of text boxes as we did with the lines.

creating-fishbone-diagram-template-excel-9

You can download this final fishbone diagram template in Excel for free here.

In the next section we will analyze how fishbone diagram template can be used in different industries.

Fishbone diagram template for healthcare

The below example depicts a fishbone diagram template for lab values getting delayed. The image is adopted from Institute of Healthcare Improvement for our discussion here.

fishbone-diagram-template-for-healthcare

Source: Institute of Healthcare Improvement

Key steps involved in drawing a fishbone diagram for healthcare are listed below:

  1. Write the ultimate effect on the right side corner box (in this case – long test results time). We are trying to identify the root cause for this particular effect.
  2. Draw a straight line from this box towards the left-hand side – long enough to handle all the relevant causes.
  3. Do not jump straight into reasons. Try to categorize them as depicted in the above diagram. The categories can be Materials, Methods, Equipment, People & Environment. You may choose to add more or fewer categories depending upon the situation and actual reason.
  4. Call for a brainstorming meeting to identify the reasons among the employees. Ask the ‘why?’ question as much as you can till you find out the original cause behind the effect. You may find more than one causes at a time during the root cause analysis.
  5. Draw the causes as each fishbone connecting the center horizontal line and the category boxes. Now you will have the enough specific causes which can be tested for improvement.

The below video showcases how you can conduct root cause analysis using fishbone diagram in a healthcare institute.

Fishbone diagram template for nursing

The below fishbone diagram is adapted from National Council of State Boards of Nursing to showcase how fishbone diagram can be used in nursing. This fishbone diagram template for nursing tries to identify root causes for a medication error event.

fishbone-diagram-template-nursing

Source:ncsbn.org

Fishbone diagram template for medicine

Here is another example to evaluate root causes for a long waiting time in a hospital.

fishbone-diagram-template-medicine

Source:nursingtimes.net

Five key points that you need to understand before delving into root cause analysis using fishbone diagram in healthcare industry:

  1. Visual diagram always gives an edge in analyzing clinical problems.
  2. More number of healthcare professionals are opting for fishbone diagram to analyze their problems.
  3. It is advisable to appoint a group moderator or facilitator while doing the brainstorming sessions. Having a moderator helps to avoid tangential discussions and to bring the group together to identify action items at ease.
  4. Discussing the causes in a detailed way helps the organization to identify innovative solutions which you haven’t considered earlier.
  5. Being open towards root cause analysis helps to identify the actual root cause and the relationship with it to the effect in turn to identify an effective solution.

Use of fishbone diagram template in manufacturing

In the manufacturing industry, fishbone diagram often used for quality related issues to identify root causes. Causes for manufacturing issues are often classified under 6ms.

  • Methods (all the processes)
  • Manpower
  • Mother Nature
  • Measurements (inspection)
  • Materials (information, raw materials, any consumables)
  • Machines (technology)

These 6Ms are originally identified and widely used by Toyota in their manufacturing system. In addition to these 6 identified causes, Management / Money Power and Maintenance were added in the recent times – however, they are not that popular.

Here is a sample for fishbone diagram template using 6ms

fishbone-diagram-template-6ms

Source: edrawsoft.com

 

Further reading & resources for Fishbone diagram / root cause analysis / ishikawa diagram :

How to do effective brainstorming for root cause analysis – Managermechanics.com

Brainstorming template – Brainstorming Techniques for using the brainstorming template

Fishbone diagram generator – http://www.exinfm.com/project_files/4.01.1%20fish_bone_diagram_invoices.xls

Ishikawa diagram – Wikipedia

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