Decision-making - fishbone diagram
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5 Whys technique
This is a technique that can be used to support the fishbone diagram and establish some of the underlying problems that may not be immediately obvious. This simply consists of asking a series of questions to establish the root cause of a problem or issue. It doesn't always have to be five whys, but it is considered that asking why five times should usually be enough to get to the root cause. For more detail and an example of the technique at work, why not have a look at the Wikipedia 5 Whys page.
A worked example:
An employee with a poor attendance record is asked the following questions:
- Why did have you been away for the last three Fridays?
Because I was feeling stressed and this made me feel sick
- Why were you feeling stressed?
Because I had three projects to finish by the end of the month.
- Why did you have three projects to complete by the end of the month?
Because I did not have the skills to prepare some of the graphs required.
- Why did you not have the skills to prepare some of the graphs required?
Because both the training days I had signed up for were cancelled.
- Why were both the training days you signed up for cancelled?
Because the budget for training had been cut by 30% and these courses were expensive.
So it appears from further questioning using the 5 Whys technique that the absenteeism was being caused by poor training.
Solution: The manager of the department arranged for internal training from two employees in another department who had the appropriate skills and had been on earlier sessions of the cancelled training courses. They created a process to allow collaboration on future projects.
Further detail - Ishikawa diagram
For some more detail on the fishbone or Ishikawa diagram, why not have a look at:
Why not try and develop your own fishbone diagram in the window below, or follow the previous link to open the diagram in a new window.
This is really a very straightforward template, which would be ideal as preparation for the Case Study paper. The key factors from the Case Study can be grouped and placed on the fishbone template and used to support your analysis and evaluation.