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A Toolbook for Quality Improvement and Problem Solving (contents)

Cause-Effect Diagram: When to use it

The Quality Toolbook > Cause-Effect Diagram > When to use it

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to do it | Practical variations


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When to use it

  • Use it when investigating a problem, to identify and select key problem causes to investigate or address.
  • Use it when the primary symptom (or effect) of a problem is known, but possible causes are not all clear.
  • Use it when working in a group, to gain a common understanding of problem causes and their relationship.
  • Use it to find other causal relationships, such as potential risks or causes of desired effects.
  • Use it in preference to a Relations Diagram where there is one problem and causes are mostly hierarchical (this will be most cases).


Fig. 1. Using the Cause-Effect Diagram in problem solvin



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