Cause and Effect Diagram: The Ultimate Guide to Using Cause and Effect Diagrams

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction according to Newton's third law of motion. You can apply this idea to every action that ever occurs, not just movement.

For instance, if you pet a cat, there is a decent chance they will purr. On the other hand, they may also bite you. Either way, your action is causing an effect. A great way to chart causes and their effects is a cause and effect diagram.

What is a cause and effect diagram?

A cause and effect diagram is a visual tool that you use to logically organize the potential causes of a desired result, or effect. These diagrams can be very simple or have many details depending on how many causes you are considering. They are also referred to as a fishbone or Ishikawa diagram.

How to make a cause and effect diagram

This diagram is commonly used in business by people trying to determine how they can achieve specific results. The desired result goes at the top, and any possible causes are listed underneath it. This can often end up looking like a tree.

Let's say, for instance, that you own a flower shop. Your desired result is to have better customer satisfaction. So, you would list customer satisfaction at the top of your tree. The different potential causes would then be branches on the tree. Here are some examples of causes:

  • Lower prices
  • A bigger variety of flowers
  • Open more hours
  • Bigger delivery radius

You would then look at all the causes you came up with and see which ones are actually feasible. In the example above, you may strike out lower prices because you might not be able to afford them. Being open more hours might also be off the table because you can't afford to hire more people. You may, however, explore reaching out to local nurseries and getting a wider variety of flowers.

Cause and effect diagram software

There are various cause-and-effect diagram software out there, but MindManager is one where you will get the most bang for your buck. MindManager can help you create not only a cause and effect diagram but can help you with many other visual mapping experiences.

With MindManager, the world's number one visual mapping software for business, you can create any possible visual map you need to help make your business better. The maps can help you solve many problems and help you make decisions to benefit your business. Here are several reasons you should use MindManager.

  • It has powerful sharing using HTML5.
  • Provides great project planning and management.
  • It comes with powerful integration using apps like Google Docs, Asana, OneDrive, or Box.
  • Convenient: You can quickly store, retrieve, and share any of your MindManager files using simplified file management.
  • Visual: There are over 700 topic images in the Image Library you can use.


Every business frequently faces decisions that have to be made. Cause and effect diagrams are a great way to help businesses make the best decisions to be successful. A cause and effect diagram allows a business to set a preferred result and map out the actions that would cause that result.

Fortunately, many activity diagram tools are available, with plenty of activity diagram templates to pick from.

Cause and effect diagrams are also referred to as a fishbone or Ishikawa diagram. They often end up looking like a tree, with the branches being different causes and the top of the tree being the desired result.

MindManager is a great program to use to help your business develop cause and effect diagrams along with many other types of diagrams.

If you need a visual mapping solution, download MindManager today and see how much it can help your business.

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