Six Sigma Tools for continuous quality improvement

 

Root Cause Analysis
Fishbone Diagram template

Excel fishbone template and other root cause analysis tools

Sometimes called a fish diagram, Ishikawa diagram, or cause and effect diagram,
the Root Cause Template is a powerful tool to identify the root causes underlying a problem.

At some time or another, every team needs to “put their heads together”. In the past, this has involved walls plastered with sticky notes, and someone staying long after the meeting to transcribe the group's decisions and insights.

Root Cause Analysis Fishbone Diagram Excel template Cause and Effect Diagram
Fishbone diagram
template
Your root cause template makes it easy to:
  1. Quickly record people's ideas as fast as they can generate them — with “handwriting” that everyone can read!
  2. Keep asking “why?" until you begin to arrive at the root causes of your problem — so that you can “dig out the roots” instead of “hacking at the leaves”.
    (This method is also known as “5 whys”, because if you ask “Why?” 5 times,
    you are likely to arrive at root causes)
  3. Easily rearrange ideas into logical groups —
    spawning even better ideas.
Planning ahead

Why use tools?

I'm paid by the hour.

And when the cause and effect analysis session is over...

everyone can get right back to work

because everything is perfectly organized in your fish bone diagram,
ready to email to all team members, and to store electronically for future reference.


Fast and easy

Root Cause Analysis template

The most important thing to know about the Systems2win fishbone template is that it is FAST to use.

In the heat of a group brainstorming session, there is no time for complex or temperamental root cause analysis software. With the Systems2win fishbone cause and effect diagram, you can quickly copy similar cells, quickly
drag n drop, quickly move things around, quickly resize boxes — to quickly whip up a professional-looking completed fishbone diagram — and still have time to join the rest of your team for lunch.

Root Cause Analysis template

Sample root cause analysis example

Download free trial fishbone diagram template

Quickly expand your fishbone template workspace

by simply unhiding pre-formatted rows and columns

Notice that you can easily connect multiple arrows in multiple directions to depict causes that have multiple effects and effects that have multiple causes.

Because that's the way the real world works... right?
Things are rarely as linear and rigid as the thinking of most computer programmers.
Remember, this is "just Excel", and therefore has all of the flexibility and customization possibilities of any Excel worksheet.

There are two popular ways to use the Root Cause Analysis template:

1) Use a projector, and make the changes where everyone can see them.

2) Use sticky notes on the wall — while an assistant transcribes the results into a more legible version that can then be used for easier editing and Affinity Grouping, and can be electronically archived and emailed to participants after the meeting.

You can even import data into text boxes on your fishbone template...

  • From a Systems2win FMEA workbook
  • From a Systems2win brainstorming template  (Tip: copy from Word to Excel, then import)
  • From any Excel worksheet containing any data that you want to quickly import into root cause text boxes

Months or years from now — when a similar problem arises...

it's easy for your team leaders to retrieve your electronically stored fishbone diagram and pick up where you left off.
Easily answering the question, “what were our thoughts when we last considered a similar problem?#8221;

If a user is already familiar with how to use Excel as a drawing tool,

then the learning curve for a new user of this root cause template takes only a few minutes
(because it is so similar to all of the other Systems2win Excel drawing tools for continuous improvement).

 

“A relentless barrage of 'why’s' is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo. Use it often.”

~ Shigeo Shingo


Bookmark = Training

Root Cause Analysis Process

Purpose of the fishbone diagram template

To gain clearer understanding of possible root causes, and to brainstorm ideas for creative solutions to the problem.

Your Root Cause template can be used in different ways

(for different circumstances)

  1. You can either:
    1. Do your initial brainstorming and affinity grouping by using the Brainstorming worksheet (as described above), or...
    2. Do all of your brainstorming right on the Root Cause Analysis itself
  2. You can either:
    1. Use a projector, and make the changes where everyone can see them
    2. Use sticky notes on the wall — while an assistant transcribes the results into a more legible version that can then be used for easier editing (to clarify and organize) and Affinity Grouping, and can be electronically archived and emailed to participants after the meeting.

Instructions for using the Root Cause Analysis Form

  1. Follow the instructions for brainstorming
    1. You can either do your initial brainstorming using the brainstorming.doc template,
      or (more commonly) directly on the Root Cause Analysis fishbone diagram.
    2. If you are importing data — follow the instructions in your template for importing data
  2. Continue asking "why" until root causes are found
  3. When you archive your results —
    Unless there is some reason to clean it up, you can usually just archive it the messy "way it is".
    That's the beauty of human beings. They will "get the picture" — and your people can quickly move on toward actually solving your root problems.

How to copy shapes

Master the teachings found in:

  1. The training videos: How to use Excel as a drawing tool Video
  2. The written online training: Tips for using Microsoft Office Drawings.

Helpful Tips

Standard Shapes
  1. It's easier to copy & paste an entire cell (containing a text box and arrow)
    rather than copying text boxes and arrows separately.
  2. Use your snap-to grid.
  3. You can quickly expand your workspace by simply unhiding pre-formatted rows and columns.
  4. Notice that you can easily connect multiple arrows in multiple directions to depict causes that have multiple effects and effects that have multiple causes. (Because that's the way the real world works... right?)
  5. Use colors to communicate!!!
  6. Use the stencil of shapes to highlight, circle, and call attention to important things.
  7. Use bursts and clouds to identify problems and solutions.

Root Cause Analysis Methods

additional approaches

5 Whys

The classic common denominator for any approach to root cause problem solving
is to keep asking repeatedly “why”
until you unearth your root problems.

Thought Map Relations Diagram

Thought Map Relations Diagram

Another approach to root cause analysis is the Relations Diagram,
which also comes with your bundle of six sigma templates.

While the Cause and Effect Fishbone Diagram is the right tool
to identify root causes of less complex, linear problems...
the Thought Map Relations Diagram is the right tool
to identify root causes of a complex, nonlinear problem.

8D Problem Solving

8D Report template

The 8D Problem Solving template has yet another approach to root cause analysis.

The 8D Report provides a very thorough system for analyzing mission-critical problems
with root causes that are not immediately obvious —
and is especially effective for processes that span multiple organizations
and teams within the supply chain.

And more

See our online training Logic Diagram to choose between different approaches and problem-solving tools.


This fishbone diagram template for Root Cause Analysis
comes bundled with the rest of the Lean Six Sigma tools.

 

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Familiar surroundings

Familiar Microsoft Excel

With your Systems2win templates, you can use everything you already know about familiar Microsoft Word and Excel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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