Cause and Effect Analysis

Follow these steps to solve a problem with Cause and Effect Analysis:

Step 1: Identify the Problem

First, write down the exact problem you face FROM THE DIAGRAM

Step 2: Work Out the Major Factors InvolvedNext, identify the factors that may be part of the problem. These may be systems, equipment, materials, external forces, people involved with the problem, and so on

The manager identifies the following factors, and adds these to his diagram:

Step 3: Identify Possible Causes

Now, for each of the factors you considered in step 2, brainstorm possible causes of the problem that may be related to the factor.

Show these possible causes as shorter lines coming off the “bones” of the diagram. Where a cause is large or complex, then it may be best to break it down into sub-causes. Show these as lines coming off each cause line.

Step 4: Analyze Your Diagram

By this stage you should have a diagram showing all of the possible causes of the problem that you can think of.

Depending on the complexity and importance of the problem, you can now investigate the most likely causes further. This may involve setting up investigations, carrying out surveys, and so on. These will be designed to test which of these possible causes is actually contributing to the problem.