Fishbone Diagrams

A Fishbone Diagram is a structured brainstorming tool designed to help improvement teams come up with potential root causes for an undesirable effect or problem.

Two Line OfieREQUIRED: Fishbone Diagrams must be enabled on your Item to perform the functions on this support page. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager to enable Fishbone.

Who can create and manage an Item's Fishbone Diagram?

To manage an Item's Fishbone Diagram, you must have permission to view and edit it.

Only the following people can view an Item:

  • Anyone on the Item's Team.
  • Potentially anyone on the parent's Team.
  • If the Item is not private and not in the New status, anyone with the "View" permission for Items in its Location(s).
  • If the Item is private, anyone with the "View Private" permission for Items in its Location(s).
  • If the Item is in the New status and is not private, anyone with the "View New" permission for Items in its Location(s).

Only the following people can edit an Item:

  • Anyone on the Item's Team except for Followers or Participants.
  • Anyone with the "Edit" permission for Items in this Location(s).
  • For Items using the Standard Team Type, anyone with the "Assign" permission for Items in this Location(s).

Two Line OfieFor more information on Team Roles (like Authors, Facilitators, Participants, and more!) check out this article.

Add a Fishbone Diagram to an Item

To add a Fishbone Diagram to an Item, open the Item with which you want to work, then:

  • Click Add in the top right corner of the page, then click Fishbone in the resulting drop-down menu and the Create Fishbone window will open.
    • Problem: Enter the problem or effect you want to solve. This text will be displayed on the right side of the diagram.
    • There are six sections — one for each possible category under which potential causes for the problem will be listed. You do not need to utilize all six categories.

      Under the header of each category you want to use:
      • Title: Enter the category's name.
      • Cause Rows: Use this field to search for and select the Item(s) which should be grouped under this category. This will provide anyone viewing the Fishbone Diagram a direct link to the selected Item(s).

        You can add as many Items as you'd like, but can only add Items that you have permission to see.
      • Click Add Text Row to add a text field under this category. When the text field appears, enter your text. If you click away from the text field without entering anything, it will disappear.

        You can add as many text rows as you'd like.
      • Click Alphabetize Rows to rearrange all the Items and text rows that have already been added to this category in alphabetical order.
      • To reorder rows individually, click and hold a row to drag and drop it into the right order.
      • To remove a row, hover over it so that it is highlighted blue and click the x button that appears to its right.
    • When you're finished building the diagram, click Save

The Fishbone Diagram will now appear on the Item. Its exact placement is determined by how your organization has configured the Item's Template.

Edit a Fishbone Diagram

You can update the entire Fishbone Diagram at once, or quickly update an individual category or just the problem. You can also highlight or strikethrough any of the diagram's causes.

Edit the entire diagram at once

To edit an Item's Fishbone Diagram, open the Item with which you want to work, then either:

  • Click Actions in the top right corner of the page, then click Edit Fishbone in the resulting drop-down menu. Or,

An Item work panel with an arrow pointing to the Actions button

  • Hover over the Fishbone Diagram and click the pencil icon that appears in its top right corner.

An Item work panel with an arrow pointing to the pencil icon on a Fishbone panel

In the resulting window, update the problem or the categories as described above.

Update a single category

To update a single category on a Fishbone Diagram, open the Item with which you want to work, then:

  • Click the name of the category you want to edit or, if that category has not yet been given a name, click the plus sign icon in its place.
  • In the resulting window, update the category's name and rows as described above, then click Save.

Update just the problem

To update the problem on a Fishbone Diagram, open the Item with which you want to work, then:

  • Click the problem.
  • In the resulting window, update the problem as described above, then click Save.

Highlight or strikethrough a cause

To convey a better visual understanding of the Fishbone Diagram, highlight and/or strikethrough any of the causes that have been listed on your diagram. These changes will be visible to anyone who accesses this diagram.

To mark a cause, open the Item with which you want to work, then:

  • Right-click the cause you want to mark. In the resulting drop-down menu:
    • Click Highlight to give the cause a yellow highlight.
    • Click Strikethrough to draw a line through the cause.

To unmark a cause:

  • Right-click the cause you want to unmark. In the resulting drop-down menu:
    • Click Remove Highlight to clear the highlight from the cause.
    • Click Remove Strikethrough to remove the line from the cause.

Delete a Fishbone Diagram

Two Line OfieCAUTION: When you delete a Fishbone Diagram, it is permanently removed from KaiNexus and cannot be recovered.


To delete an Item's Fishbone Diagram, open the Item with which you want to work, then either:

  • Click Actions in the top right corner of the page, then click Edit Fishbone in the resulting drop-down menu. Or,

An Item work panel with an arrow pointing to the Actions button

  • Hover over the Fishbone Diagram and click the pencil icon that appears in its top right corner.

An Item work panel with an arrow pointing to the pencil icon on a Fishbone panel

In the resulting window:

  • Click Delete and a confirmation window will appear.
    • Check the I understand this cannot be undone checkbox.
    • Click Delete.

The Fishbone Diagram will be removed from the Item. If a panel or tab was added to that Item following the diagram's creation, it will be removed as well.