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What is a cause-effect diagram?

The cause-effect diagram is also known as a fishbone diagram or Ishikawa diagram. It visually represents a problem-solving process in which the primary causes of a problem are sought. The diagram that results is one of the so-called “Seven Quality Tools”.

All problem causes are to be identified as well as their dependencies are to be represented. A tree structure (Fault Tree Analysis) or table structure (Cause and Effect Matrix) is often used as a representation method.