Root Cause Analysis

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What is Root Cause Analysis? Description

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a structured step by step technique that focuses on finding the real cause of a problem and dealing with that. Rather than merely dealing with its symptoms. Root Cause Analysis is a procedure for ascertaining and analyzing the causes of problems, to determine how these problems can be solved or be prevented from occurring. It is a process to help stakeholders to understand causes of a problem well enough to achieve permanent resolution of that problem.

Usage of Root Cause Analysis. Benefits

Most problematic situations which arise within organizations have multiple approaches to deal with them. These different approaches generally require different levels of resource expenditure to execute them. Because of the perceived immediacy which exists in most of these situations, there is a tendency to opt for the solution which is the most expedient in terms of quickly dealing with the situation.

In doing this, the tendency is generally to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying fundamental problem that is actually responsible for the situation occurring (root cause). Yet, through choosing this expeditious approach to deal with the symptoms, the problematic situation may likely occur again, and must be dealt with over and over again. The costs of these quick solutions can be high over time.

The goal of a Root Cause Analysis is to find out:

  • What happened.
  • Why it happened.
  • What can be done to prevent the problem from happening again.

A root cause is one of the most basic, or fundamental causes of the situation (condition) with which we are concerned. Since the situation (condition) is usually affected by many things (physical conditions, human behavior, behavior of systems, or processes), several root causes will usually be found. Compare: Cause and Effect Diagram

Steps in Root Cause Analysis. Process

The most common element of RCA method variants includes asking why today's situation (condition) occurred. While the answers are recorded. And then asking why for each answer, again and again. RCA attempts to identify contributing factors and all causes. This allows you to proceed further, by asking why, until the desired goal of finding the "root" causes is reached.

Finding root causes will lead us to the next step: to evaluate the best method to change the root cause, so we can improve our current condition. That is another process, commonly known as: corrective and preventive action. While we are searching for root cause, we must remember to review each found cause and factor for correction as well, since this can also provide for great improvements.

While the terminology RCA is generic, in the sense that there exist many different variants of the methodology, it does indicate that some kind of structural methodology will be used on the problem.

Limitations of Root Cause Analysis. Disadvantages

  • This method presupposes a single source of the problem. In reality, the situation may be more complex.

Special Interest Group

Root Cause Analysis Special Interest Group.

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Limitations of Root Cause Analysis
The RCA model assumes:
1. Linearity
2. The existence of cause and effect relationship
3. That a system can be broken down into components and each fragment analyzed (reductionism).
Common Reasons for Root Cause Analysis?
Root cause analysis, as any other improvement initiative, should only be done if it brings benefits for the business.
I've supported various organizations in deploying root cause analysis, which ...
The Problem with Management Pragmatism
Managers often hide behind the magic word "pragmatism" to justify their wrong quick-fix approach in handling issues.
Throughout my career to today, I find management hardly ever allocate enough t...
Links between Root Cause Analysis and Business Process Improvement
Let's get some views on the interaction or link between RCA and Business Process Management (BPM) or Business Process Improvement....
🔥 NEW You Root Cause, I Root Cause... we All Root Cause
So, what's special about the way you do Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?

1. What industry or domain is the setting for your RCA efforts?
2. For what kinds of issues do you perform RCAs?

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Root Cause Analysis. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

The Ultimate Quotes on Root Cause Analysis
Do you know some deep, famous or funny quotes on Root Cause Analysis? Quotations? Proverbs? Please share them, mentioning the author. To get started, here's my favorite:
The important thing is no...

Root Causes Categories in Financial Services
We operate in a Financial Services environment and would like to know if anyone has a set of basic categories that they group their root causes under....

Other Names for Root Cause Analysis
Another term which is sometimes used for Root Cause Analysis is Critical Event Analysis....

What are Common Errors while Performing Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?
I would like to list out the common errors while performing an RCA. I feel this would really help project teams before starting an RCA process....

Follow-up on Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
Once the causes have been identified and recommendations are written, who becomes the owner of the RCA? Who is accountable for the realisation of all the action plans and to make sure everything has b...

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Root Cause Analysis. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

8-Step Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Process

Implementing Root Cause Analysis, RCA Process
In an article, Roger Shaw mentions the following 8-stage Root Cause Analysis Process: 1. Preserve the site and evidence...

The 5 Whys Method. Definition and How to Apply

Alternative to RCA
Definition The 5 Whys Method was pioneered by Sakichi Toyoda and lately developed by the architect of Toyota Production...

Approaches to Conducting RCA Activities

Root Cause Analysis Methods
One might be tempted to conclude that a completed RCA is the compilation of stakeholder views of "why" a situation occur...

4-Step Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Process

Root Cause Analysis Process
One can identify four steps in Root Cause Analyses. These steps are listed below: 1. Data Collection: the analysis of a...

5 Root Cause Analysis Schools

Understanding Root Cause Analysis
5 schools of RCA could be distinguished depending on their origin: 1. SAFETY-BASED RCA descends from the fields of acci...

3 Root Causes of Disagreement in Team Decision-making Processes

Group Decision-making, Team Decision-making, Reasons for Disagreement, 3 Fs, Group Collaboration
According to Freeman and Haskins (2014), there are three main categories of potential root causes for disagreements with...

3 Potential Categories of (Root) Causes

Root Cause Analysis, Ishikawa, 8D, TOC
Latino and Latino consider in a 1999-paper called 'Root Cause Analysis – Improving Performance for Bottom Line Results' ...

Team-oriented Root Cause Analysis

Team-oriented RCA
The 8-D problem solving process, is a team-oriented method of problem solving. It applies process and statistical tools ...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Root Cause Analysis. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Personal Problem Solving: Process, Principles and Efficiency

Problem Solving Process, Problem Solving Stages, Problem Solving Steps, Interpersonal Problem Solving
A brief but excellent presentation about some key aspects of effective (personal) problem solving. The presentation incl...

Comparison 3 RCA tools

Effectiveness CED / ID / CRT
Article by By Dr. Anthony Mark Doggett compares Cause-and-Effect Diagram (CED), the Interrelationship Diagram (ID), and ...

Example of Root Cause Analysis: The Jefferson Memorial

Root Cause Analysis, RCA, 5 Whys, Ishikawa Diagram, Cause and Effect Analysis
The stone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC was deteriorating quickly. Using Root Cause Analysis (more in parti...

How to Use the 5 Whys in Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis, RCA, 5 Whys Technique, Why-Why Analysis, Ishikawa Diagram
This video explains how you can use the 5 Whys Technique as part of Root Cause Analysis, as is done at Toyota. Whenever ...

Determining the Root Cause of a Problem

Root Cause Analysis, Problem Solving, Analysing
Presentation about the Root Cause Analysis by 1. Why determine Root Cause? 2. What is a Root Cause? 3. What is RCA? ...

Using the Whys Method

Six Sigma, Toyoda, Toyota, Lean Production, Root Cause Analysis
To solve a problem effectively, you need to drill down through the symptoms to the underlying cause. Sakichi Toyoda, one...

First Introduction to 8D Problem Solving and Root Cause Analysis

Initial Understanding of Causes of Problems, Workshops, Trainings
In this video Adrian Gundy explains 3 important terms or principles you need to understand about the 8 Disciplines or 8D...

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