Revealing the mystery of Root Cause Analysis and Its Resolution

 In Blog, Old newsletter

In spite of on-going training for years and aggressive initiatives to effectively fish out root cause(s) , the approach and how to achieve higher successful results  in  identifying appropriate and  relevant root cause(s) remains a mystery for the  most part. The root cause(s) analysis could be either proactive or reactive. The examples of tools for proactive root cause(s) analysis could include HAZOP and FEMA, primarily done at the design stage to identify and eliminate design-related issues/matters/aspects. The tools for reactive root cause analysis could include 5 Why, Fish Bone Diagrams (Cause and Effect Diagrams), Tap Root, Event Tree & Fault Tree Diagrams, and Think Reliability tool.


The well proven, practical, effective and sequential approach for determining and resolving root causes can be summed up as the following:        

  • Identify the problem accurately and concisely i.e. symptoms
  • Describe the goals that can be impacted by the identified problem including financial, health and safety, environmental, stakeholder perception etc
  • Identify the relevant multi-discipline team to conduct root causes
  • Assign the boundaries for processes to be included in the  root cause(s) analysis
  • Map out the processes if not done already
  • Understand the processes especially  the checks/balances with the acceptance criteria
  • Comprehend the definition of root causes
  • Get to know 5 Why process
  • Understand the independence (OR) and interaction (AND) of root causes
  • Begin the 5 Why process
  • Identify physical root causes
  • Continue the 5 Why Process
  • Identify the process/system causes
  • Develop and implement corrective actions based on physical root causes
  • Develop and implement corrective actions based on process/system root causes
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of corrective actions
  • Retain all documents/records related to problem statement, process map(s), identified physical and process/system causes, corrective actions and their effectiveness
  • No issues with the fixed process in terms of repetition of previous symptoms-End of process
  • The original or similar symptoms reappear-Process repeated
  • Repeat the root cause process as above
  • Modify the previously established process map(s) as needed
  • Revise the written procedures as needed
  • Train the employees on revised procedures
  • Determine the effectiveness of training provided
  • Keep records of provided training and effectiveness evaluation
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