Root Cause Analysis

Consider common challenges to better understand root analysis. When we are sick at work, we see a doctor and request that he investigate the source of our pain. If our car breaks down, we take it to a garage to have the problem diagnosed. If our company does not achieve the expected results in a certain area or exceeds them, we try to find out why this is.

For each of these examples, you could find a simple solution that relieves each symptom. In the case of being sick, you could stay home until you feel better. You could take the bus and leave your broken-down car at home to go around without a car. These solutions treat the symptoms but do not address the underlying causes of those symptoms. 

For example, a stomach infection that requires medication or a faulty alternator that needs to be repaired. To solve or analyze a problem, it is necessary to perform a root cause analysis and find out exactly what is causing the problem and how to address it.

What is root analysis?

The process of determining the root causes of issues so that appropriate solution can be found is known as root cause analysis (RCA). The RCA understands that it is far more effective to systematically prevent and resolve underlying problems rather than addressing symptoms and aiming for temporary solutions.

Root analysis is a set of ideas, strategies, and approaches that can be used to identify the causes of an event or trend. It allows you to see where a process or system failed or caused an issue by looking beyond the obvious cause and effect.

Goals and benefits of root analysis

These are the goals of root analysis:

  • To discover the cause of a problem or event.
  • Perfect understanding of how to solve, compensate for or learn from the underlying issues which may be part of the cause.
  • Using what we’ve learned from the analysis to prevent future difficulties or achievements.

The effectiveness of the analysis depends on what we can do with the analysis, so the third goal of the RCA is important. We can also use root cause analysis to modify the core process and system problems in a way that prevents future problems.

For example, if a football player suffers a concussion, rather than simply treating the symptoms, it might suggest wearing a helmet to reduce the risk of future concussions.

Treating the different symptoms can make us feel productive. In the same way, solving a large number of problems can make us think that we are taking matters into our own hands. However, if we don’t diagnose the real cause of a problem, it’s likely to come back again and again.

Instead of a news editor adding every necessary comma that the writer left out, she can train writers in the correct use of the comma so that they don’t make mistakes again and thus avoid further problems.

Important principles to consider

Several important principles determine root analysis effectiveness. Some of them should already be apparent. These principles will not only add to the quality of the analysis but will also help the analyst gain the trust and support of stakeholders, clients, or patients.

  • Focus on correcting and remedying the causes rather than the symptoms.
  • Do not ignore the importance of treating the symptoms to achieve a short-term solution.
  • Understand that in some cases, and indeed often, there may be multiple causes.
  • Attention must be directed on ‘HOW’ and ‘WHY’ and not on WHO is responsible for what has happened.
  • Be methodical and look for concrete evidence of causes and effects to support the argument of the alleged root of a problem.
  • Sufficient information must be prepared to develop a corrective action plan.
  • Think about how you can prevent (or repeat) a problem in the future.

As outlined in the principles above, when looking at problems and causes in-depth, it is important to take a comprehensive and comprehensive approach. In addition to uncovering the root cause of a problem, we should strive to provide context and information that will enable a plan of action or decision to be made. Remember that effective analysis can lead to action to be taken.

Tips for performing effective root cause analysis

To clarify information and get closer to answers, you need to ask questions. You are more likely to uncover a root cause if you can dive down and investigate every possible cause. You can ask even more questions once we believe you’ve found the problem’s fundamental cause (rather than merely another symptom): Instead of that, why are you so sure this is the fundamental cause? How do you address the fundamental source of the problem and prevent it from recurring?

To construct a route to comprehension, ask simple questions like “why?” “How?” and “so what does that mean here?”.

  • Work with a team and get fresh eyes: Any extra eyes, whether it’s simply a partner or a complete team of coworkers, will help us figure out solutions faster and will also serve as a bias check. Getting feedback from others will also provide us with additional perspectives, allowing us to test our assumptions.
  • Plan for future root cause analysis: It’s critical to be aware of the process when you conduct a root cause analysis. Make a mental note of everything. Inquire about the analytical procedure in general. Find out if a particular technique or method is the greatest fit for your company’s needs and surroundings.
  • Remember to perform root cause analysis for successes too: The root cause analysis method is a powerful tool for determining what went wrong. It’s usually utilized to help identify problems, but it may also be used to figure out why something worked. It’s rarely a terrible idea to investigate the fundamental cause of success, overachievement, or a missed deadline. This type of study can assist you to prioritize and protect essential aspects, and you might be able to apply what you’ve learned in one firm to another.
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