A Fishbone diagram is a problem analysis technique use by Business Analysts. It helps understand the root causes of a business problem. Sometimes the root cause of the problem may be obvious. At other times, only the symptoms may appear.
Fishbone diagrams are similar to mind maps but are purely diagnostic. If you are a business analyst aiming for the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis then you absolutely must understand Fishbone diagrams, how to create them, and when to use them. These things can be learned on a BCS Business Analysis Foundation course which is one of the 4 bundled courses forming the BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis course bundle.
Like a fishbone, the diagram consists of a head containing the name of the problem, a backbone which connects everything together, and spines which are connected to the backbone.
Attached to each spine is a possible area for causes of the problem. Four approaches can be taken when labelling the spines. These are:
1. The four Ms:
- Manpower; Machines; Measures; Methods;
2. The alternative four Ms:
- Manpower; Machines; Materials; Methods;
3. The six Ps:
- People; Place; Processes; Physical evidence; Product/service; Performance measures.
4. The four Ss:
- Surroundings; Suppliers; Systems; Skills.