Fishbone Purgatory (runaway divergence)

We received this question from a recent graduate of our Systematic Problem-Solving (SPS) workshop:

“Our organization is a supplier to the U.S. Military.  We are required to submit a Fishbone Diagram for problems they and others refer back to us for resolution.  We even have whiteboards in our team meeting rooms upon which the Fishbone Diagram is permanently embedded to remind us to always use this approach. What do you suggest?”

Of course, we recognize you must give your customer what they want!  Just don’t let this be the only thing you do.  It is possible to rapidly create a Fishbone that covers all the necessary categories.  Then, be sure to avoid Fishbone Purgatory by completing the BPI SPS Problem-Solving analysis.  The completed Fishbone will assure your customer you considered a wide range of potential causes.  The SPS analysis will enable you to converge and verify the true cause of the problem.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with why there is a need for our non-Fishbone approach to resolving problems, please read the continuation of this discussion in the article: