Cause and Effect (Fishbone) Template

Understand the root cause(s) of a problem.


It's tempting to dive into the detail of a project as soon as it starts. Resist this urge. Understand the problem first.


It's like hitting a golf ball: the slightest deviation up front has a huge effect on the final trajectory.


Having a clear and early understanding of the problem generally saves time and money in the long run. A common vision can short-circuit unnecessary debates or avoid major changes later on.


One technique to get at the underlying intent of a project is a fishbone diagramming, also known as a cause-and-effect diagramming. With this, you iteratively break down problems into smaller causes until you get to the root causes. Do this as a group with a variety of stakeholders and project team members.


Cause and Effect (Fishbone) Exercise Template by Mary Halling


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