Reader's Favorite Wesbites
--Honda of America Mfg.
--Perry Payne serves on the
board of directors for AQP. He is also a speaker and
trainer. Payne currently works as a staff administrator
for Honday of America, Mfg. in Marysville, Ohio.
What is the tool that did
not work for you?
--The tool is the
Cause and Effect Diagram-a visual method of detailing and
arriving at possible causes of a problem, commonly
referred to as the Fishbone Diagram. The tool is to help
a team identify and focus on all the potential causes in
related categories without assumptions, biases or
preconceived ideas. Upon entering a problem-solving
situation a team can use their knowledge and experience
(or collected data) to brainstorm possible causes and
display them in the fishbone format. By displaying the
information the team can feed off each other's ideas,
stay on track and watch the diagram grow and
Why didn't the tool work or why is it
knowledgeable facilitator to lead the process, many teams
fall short of achieving the maximum value of a Fishbone.
Too much time and energy is spent on which category a
possible cause should be placed in, what a category name
should be or even how many categories should be used.
Possible causes tend to develop from personal biases.
Preconceived countermeasures lead the questioning instead
of allowing the questioning to lead to the possible
causes. The tool also hinders the brainstorming process
by categorizing the possible causes (at least in the
early stages). When brainstorming, we like to throw the
ideas out as they pop up and not hold them back until we
get to a certain category.
How would you fix the
--The tool itself
is not necessarily in need of fixing. I would first ask
if I need to do a Cause and Effect Diagram. We often get
caught up using a tool and we forget about our own
knowledge and experience. If you investigate the possible
cause and it's not a part of the true cause, you can
always go back and do the diagram later. Brainstorming
and capturing all possible causes without category
boundaries will enhance the results. You can use the
categories (e.g. man, machine, material, method) as a
check function to assure you have captured as many
possible causes before your questioning. Learning other
root cause identification tools will allow you to grasp
concepts and better understand the true meaning behind
identifying and breaking down possible causes.
What words of counsel or warning would
you give to someone else before they used the
--If you are using
the tool as part of your teams' activity, identify a
talented facilitator who can lead your team through the
process (no matter how comfortable you feel with the
tool). If you are working individually, understand the
rationale behind the tool and its steps then get feedback
from others close to the problem for additional
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