Root Cause Analysis

The primary goal of root cause analysis (RCA) is to find lasting solutions to business problems. Leaders who put in the effort to find the one, true cause get further, faster- with better results.

If you do one thing differently in your career or this.


Why take the time and give the effort analysis of root cause requires?

  • Resources are scarce. Don't waste them correcting things that aren't causing the problem.
  • When done correctly, RCA will provide more permanent corrections to problems.
  • Thorough problem analysis forms a foundation for good decision making.

Good problem solving takes endurance and effort. Not digging through layers of waste, messy processes with multiple work-arounds, and an inability to fight the urge to jump to conclusions limit many businesses from becoming great.

Steps to effective root cause analysis:
  1. Clearly define the problem in terms of impact to the customer or business. Your problem definition tells you "what". RCA leads to the "why".
  2. Decide what you need to do to understand the issues contributing to the result. Options include going to see what is actually happening, gathering a team of people who work in the process, taking a video of the work for later study, and performing customer surveys.
  3. Choose an analysis tool to help remove complexity and make the issues more visible.
  4. Put what you have learned into the structure of the tool.
  5. Continue to question what you know and dig into the issues.

These root cause tools provide structure to ensure nothing is missed and good decisions are made. Collaboration across functions is key to success. They also help facilitate communication and blame-less discussion of the issues.


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