Originally developed by Kaoru Ishikawa to visualize the causes of a specific problem, the cause and effect diagram has come to be known by several names: Cause and Effect, Fishbone, or Ishikawa diagram. A cause and effect diagram is one of the seven basic quality control tools and it is commonly used to determine components needed for a desired outcome.
One of the reasons cause & effect diagams are also called fishbone diagrams is because the completed diagram ends up looking like a fish's skeleton with the fish head to the right of the diagram and the bones branching off behind it to the left.
To create a cause & effect diagram, you start by writing the main issue or problem in a box that is typically to the center right portion of your drawing area. This is your fish head in the fishbone diagram. A line called the "spine" or "backbone" will extend to the left of this box. The branches that angle off the spine each represent a cause that has some effect on the main issue. Each of these branches may also contain additional sub-branches.
See how easy it is to make one using SmartDraw's automated tools. smartdraw.com/software/cause-and-effect-diagrams.htm?id=358998