Ishikawa Diagram

Definition of 'Ishikawa Diagram'


A diagram that shows the causes of an event and is often used in manufacturing and product development to outline the different steps in a process, demonstrate where quality control issues might arise and determine which resources are required at specific times. The Ishikawa diagram was developed by Kaoru Ishikawa during the 1960s as a way of measuring quality control processes in the shipbuilding industry.

Also referred to as a "fish bone diagram" or "cause-and-effect diagram".

Investopedia explains 'Ishikawa Diagram'


Ishikawa diagrams are sometimes referred to as "fish bone" diagrams because they resemble a fish skeleton, with the "ribs" representing the causes of an event and the final outcome appearing at the head of the skeleton. The purpose of the Ishikawa diagram is to allow management to determine which issues have to be addressed in order to gain or avoid a particular event.


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