Ishikawa Diagram

What Does Ishikawa Diagram Mean?

An Ishikawa diagram is a graph that shows the various causes of a certain effect. It is also known as a fish bone diagram due to its resemblance to a fish skeleton. In the diagram, the causes flow from left to right to represent certain effects.


An Ishikawa diagram is also known as a cause-effect graph.

Techopedia Explains Ishikawa Diagram

An Ishikawa diagram is useful for software testing because it can show the various causes and effects of software failure.

The graph shows how a cause relates to a certain effect in a visual way, which can be hard to document by itself. For example, in a C program, there might be a null pointer being referenced. It would be diagrammed with the null pointer as the cause and the program crash as the effect.These graphs can be created by entire teams to let them visualize problems in software and how to fix them.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.