Top 10 Tips for Conducting Root Cause Analysis

When we are faced with a problem that we need to address, most of us go after the symptoms not the cause, hence we miss out on the opportunity to address the issue at hand. A thorough root cause analysis is critical to ensuring appropriate corrective actions to prevent future repetition.

Here are some tips on conducting a root cause analysis.

10. Select a format for the documentation/delivery/tracking of the report produced.
9. Engage the right team members with subject matter expertise in the process/problem.
8. Ensure that you have access to the relevant data and sources of information.
7. A corrective action plan should include: what, how, when, who, where.
6. Consider facts as evidence, basis of assumptions that lead to derivations of conclusions.
5. Ask the question “why” till you cannot ask another why. 6 is usually the optimal number.
4. Divide the situation into discrete tasks and sub-tasks in the sequence performed while noting the gap between the desired and actual outcomes.
3. Focus on attributes of the problem that have a measurable difference.
2. Accurately identify the what, who, when, where and how about the problem.
1. Once you have the cause, confirm that its elimination will prevent recurrence of the problem.

Reading Reference: The Root Cause Analysis Handbook by Max Ammerman

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