Cause and Effect analysis


Cause and effect analysis is a discovery tool used to identify possible causes of a problem so they can be removed, ensuring the problem won’t happen again.

Also known as

  • Root cause analysis

The tool

Information is gathered in a group setting or workshop. Members of the group should be recruited so that multiple organisational viewpoints are brought together. Members should have expertise that can help to identify possible causes.

Cause and effect analysis can be used:

  • As part of a business process redesign project.
  • In tandem with Pareto analysis and other tools relating to quality management.

Cause and effect analysis is often confused with the visualisation tools used in carrying the analysis out.  Cause and effect analysis is often used synonymously with Ishikawa’s fishbone diagrams (which are sometimes referred to as Cause and Effect Diagrams).

Cause and effect analysis may better be understood as a class of methods that draw on a range of different data collection and visualisation tools.

Visualisation tools

Visualisation tools that can help you carry out cause and effect analysis include:

Why use it

When to use it

  • To identify the causes of, and to explain the variation in or outcomes of, a process.

How to use it



  • Without effective brainstorming or facilitation techniques, cause and effect analysis will not be effective.

Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information