Cause and effect analysis

What is it?

Cause and effect analysis is a technique for identifying the possible causes affecting a project/problem. A cause and effect diagram is a visually effective way of recording the possible causes as they are suggested.

When to use it

  • Defining a problem
  • Identifying possible data requirements
  • Identifying possible causes
  • Developing objectives for solutions
  • Narrowing down causes

What does it achieve?

Problems and their effects can often appear vast, unmanageable and insoluble. One way of beginning to break down such problems into smaller, more easily handled chunks is to explore some of the possible causes by using cause and effect diagrams. More specifically, cause and effect diagrams can be used to:

  • Assist both individuals and group to generate ideas
  • Serve as a recording for ideas generated
  • Reveal undetected relationships
  • Call attention to important relationships

Key steps

  • Name problem/effect
  • Draw fishbone diagram
  • Identify major causes
  • Brainstorm for possible causes
  • Incubate the ideas
  • Analyse and evaluate