How to perform RCA: 4 easy steps
Root cause analysis is very popular when it comes to finding an answer to the question of why a problem occurred – to discover why something went wrong.
It can be applied in almost every situation.
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It will help find and identify the origin of a problem through various steps.
- Problem definition. The solution can’t be found if the problem hasn’t defined properly. This can be a very simple process – answer on “What -?”, “Where -?”, “When it happened?” and define Extent of “What”. You’ll have your problem well defined and certainly know how to address it.
- Information gathering. The team should evaluate all gathered information and further define the problem. The problem should be defined based on facts and data. The situation needs to be fully analyzed before you can move on to look at issues that contributed to the problem. So, get together everyone who understands the situation – people who are most familiar with the problem can help lead to a better understanding of it.
- Casual factors identification. A causal factor can be defined as any key unexpected, accidental contributor to an event (a negative event or undesirable state), that if removed would have either prevented the occurrence of it or reduced its severity or frequency.
- Solution implementation. Defining the solution is not enough. Implementation is the key! This phase should address how to prevent the problem from happening again and how the solution will be implemented. Of course, someone needs to be responsible for it.
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RCA helps to recognize factors that contribute to the problem and to avoid the temptation of resolving the problem as fast as possible by pointing to the most obvious ‘Culprit’. You really want to find the real story, the origin of the problem as opposed to just reviewing and resolving symptoms.
Performing a root cause analysis may initially take some time and effort in the early stages, but later it can foster an attitude of continuous improvement.
“Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.”