Tree diagram


Tree diagrams present causes and effects as a hierarchy.

They provide an alternative way for gathering and presenting information to Fishikawa.

Also known as

  • Causal mapping
  • Cause mapping
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Method network analysis
  • Problem trees

The tool

In the following image, the problem being investigated (Effect) is shown at the bottom of the diagram, with the causes branching out above it just like a tree.

Example of a tree diagram where the effect is at the bottom and the causes branching out above. Leading to root causes and corrective actions.

This format is not prescriptive. The problem may be drawn off to one side of the diagram, with the causes spreading across the page or screen. In other cases, the problem is at the top of the diagram, with the causes spreading downwards.

Because of the way the visualisation is structured, tree diagrams can easily be combined with Five Whys.

Why use it

When to use it

  • As part of a cause and effect analysis.

How to use it



Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information