When we have a problem or issue, we need to get to the root of that problem, otherwise that problem won’t go away. The specific problem will keep happening, because like a bad weed, it will keep popping its ugly, annoying head up and cause the same issue. Root cause analysis (RCA) is a specific technique that comes along with specific tools that help identify the root causes of issues. Here are the steps to conducting a root cause analysis:
1. Identify Possible Causal Factors – A causal factor is something that contributes to an issue but is not the cause of the issue. Make sure you identify as many as possible.
2. Identify Root Causes – The root cause is a source, when removed, would help eliminate the problem. To find the root cause, use the 5 Whys tool. Just state the problem and ask why this is happening, and keep asking why as you get deeper and deeper to the root of the problem.
3. Identify Communication Challenges – This is a root cause that can be addressed through communication. This can be achieved through team effort, by communicating to others about the findings of all potential root causes to see if it can be addressed and eliminated.
4. Prioritize Communication Challenges – If during the root cause analysis more than one communication challenge was found, figure out which one should be addressed first. Prioritize root causes in a specific order starting with the main cause of the communication issue first.
*Make sure you that the root cause is within your team’s realm of influence. When using the 5 Whys, stop asking once it has been determined by the team’s collective ability of influence that you have reached the main root cause.
6sigma.us’s Root Cause Analysis online training is one of the best around! You will learn root cause analysis concepts including the entire problem solving process. This includes access to the RCA downloadable library, and online training for a full 90 days. We also offer traditional classes as well in several cities.