Quality Management & Training


A bowtie diagram is a way of visualising a risk. It allows the user to come to a fast understanding of possible scenarios which would be more difficult or take longer in document form. The diagram shows the possible causes and consequences of an event, along with the controls put in place to manage the risk. It offers the opportunity for better understanding and improved communication of risk.

New insights often emerge from a bowtie that might not be clear from other risk analysis methods. The highly visual and participative nature of building a bowtie brings involvement from all levels of the organisation.

The bowtie methodology is fast attracting attention in the risk arena in many industry sectors. But its application and benefits extend beyond risk professionals. It is of interest to quality management professionals, health and safety practitioners, and environmental managers, as well as general senior management right up to the boardroom.


The course enables delegates to:

  • understand and implement bowtie methodology and terminology
  • learn how to draw effective bowtie diagrams
  • articulate risk accurately
  • make practical use of risk management theory
  • understand what makes effective control, and why controls might fail
  • use bowties as a communication tool
  • use bowties to validate procedures
  • link bowties to the management system
  • use bowties to assist continual improvement
  • use bowties for providing assurance
  • use bowtie software to build a bowtie.


Quality managers, quality engineers, business process owners, process improvement managers, system implementers, management representatives, change managers, improvement teams, operations managers, health & safety practitioners, environmental managers, risk managers, risk owners, control owners, heads of departments.


  • Introduction – What is a bowtie. Who uses bowties. Why and when to create a bowtie diagram.
  • Group exercise – Build a basic bowtie through discussion about a generic risk.
  • Validate. Discuss what we’ve just built. Understand the structure of the bowtie, the basic knowledge needed to build the diagram, typical bowtie rules, who’s normally involved, typical approach.
  • Exercise – Delegates draw their own basic bowtie based on a generic risk or a specific risk of their choice.
  • Exercise – Delegates enhance their bowties by adding additional information to the elements of the bowties, linking them to accountable persons or parts of the management system, and learning how to use a bowtie to communicate a specific message to a target audience.
  • Discussion – The role of bowties in support of the management system; using bowties for continual improvement; how bowties could be used within the delegate’s own organisation.
  • Action planning – Steps to implementing bowtie methodology; sponsorship; quick wins and larger initiatives; awareness and education; evaluating success.


1.  Pre-course visit to develop and adapt the course to suit the client’s needs. Can include branding the material with company style and logo.

2.  Delegate assignment with QM&T support. The delegate assignment orients the course around a business risk. The course becomes a bowtie-building workshop in which delegates learn on the go. This requires the QM&T trainer to visit the client’s risk owner ahead of the course to collect suitable information and background about the risk. During the course, delegates will start to build the bowtie, also making connections to organisational personnel (such as control owners) and the management system. After the course, delegates will need to enhance the bowtie by adding further content. The QM&T trainer will visit again to review the bowtie drawing and facilitate planning of next steps or improvement measures. We find this work based assignment approach gives added value to the cost of the training, reinforces lessons learnt, and provides practical demonstration of delegate competence.


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