Fishbone Analysis

Ask 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause

A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.

- Charles Kettering, Inventor

How to Analyze Root Causes Using anĀ Ishikawa Diagram:

  1. Define the Problem Statement. Your problem statement comes from the big bar on your Pareto chart.
    pareto chart land ishikawa fishbone diagram Put it in the head of the fish and put major causes at the end of the major bones. Major causes might include:
    • Processes, machines, materials, measurement, people, environment
    • Steps of a process (step 1, step 2, etc.)
    • Whatever makes sense

  2. Ask 5 Whys. Begin with the most likely main cause and for each cause, ask "5 Whys."

    five whys template in Excel
  3. Find the Root Cause(s): Circle one-to-five ROOT causes (at the end of the "5 whys" chain.)
  4. Verify your logic by reversing your 5 Whys questions.

    check the logic of your Five Whys

Automated Fishbone Template for Excel

Getting from the Five Why's to a fishbone diagram can be time consuming.

That's why we created QI Macros Automated Fishbone Template. Just type in your 5 Why's and then click on the Create Fishbone button.

fishbone input example

QI Macros will create a fishbone diagram in seconds.

Learn More...

Why Choose QI Macros Over Other Six Sigma Software?



  • Only $349 USD - less with quantity discounts
  • No annual subscription fees
  • Free technical support

easy to use

Easy to Use

  • Works right in Excel
  • Create a chart in seconds
  • Easy to customize & share charts

proven and trusted

Proven and Trusted

  • More than 100,000 users
  • In More than 80 countries
  • Five Star CNET Rating - Virus free