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After completing a Fishbone Diagram and a hypothesis, what if I discover it was not the correct one? Would I build off of the old diagram or start over with a new Fishbone Diagram?

Interesting question. I would probably start with the original Fishbone since those are probably all valid sources of variation and then look for potential new “nested” Fishbones, or use the 5 Whys to expand on existing branches.

Elisabeth Swan

Elisabeth is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. For over 25 years, she's helped leading organizations like Amazon, Charles Schwab and Starwood Hotels & Resorts build problem-solving muscles with Lean Six Sigma to achieve their goals.