What is Root Cause Analysis: Problem Solving Method for Success

Facing the same issues occurring over and over even after solving it multiple times is frustrating for a business owner, right?

Generally, any problem in a business process has more depth than we see initially.

Thus, if you want to get rid of your business issue once and for all, Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is something you need to practice.

Want to know more about it? 

This blog is all about it.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

Have you ever played with dominoes?

If you are not vigilant enough, you can easily end up assuming the second last domino is the reason why the last domino fell.

You may replace the second last domino a thousand times, the dominos won’t stay steady because it’s not the second last, but the first domino that is unstable. So you need to replace that.

Similarly, it gets tough when working with a team. Sometimes, you can not easily see the actual cause of an issue and spend time and resources on fixing just an effect.

So, how would you be able to see the bigger picture?

The answer is Root Cause Analysis.

Now, what’s that?

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a method to find out where the root cause of an issue is to come up with the appropriate solution.

In other words:

RCA is the method to find out which one is the first domino.

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What is the Purpose of a Root Cause Analysis?

The purpose of a root cause analysis is to identify causal factors for an issue. The root cause analysis gives you as many causal factors as possible. Identifying the root causes has many purposes, such as:

  • detecting the key failure points
  • figuring out an effective solution
  • planning risk management strategies

An RAC makes you dig deeper to analyze all likely root causes and identify the real root cause. Once done, you need to come up with an appropriate, effective, and efficient solution for the identified root cause.

Moreover, the root cause analysis helps you understand the application of different solutions and plan risk management strategies for the future.

The RAC can be applied to solve multiple types of problems, such as:

  • team conflict
  • team efficiency
  • time management
  • customer issue resolution

So, are you excited to perform a root cause analysis for resolving your issues?

Let’s know how you can practice yourself.


How to Perform Root Cause Analysis?

The root cause analysis process helps you troubleshoot the issue once and for all. Thus, here are the steps to make sure you perform the root cause analysis method effectively.

  1. Gather Your Team Around

    The first step is to gather the team and analyze his/her roles, responsibilities, and capabilities. This helps in knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the individual team members.

  2. Determine the Issue

    Define the issue. You need to define the problem that you are facing in simple words without looking at the causes for it. 

  3. Uncover the Root-cause

    Note down all the possible causal factors. Digging deeper beneath the surface issue will make you discover the actual causal factor easily.

  4. Imply the Solution

    Once you know the issue, implement solutions as per the most appropriate plan of action to resolve the issue.

  5. Validate the Consequences

    Track the entire process and let your team in the loop. Validate the consequences of implementing the solution and share it with the team. It helps you create a better problem prevention plan.

    This was just a quick look. To understand the RCA process in-depth, it would take a separate blog entirely.


Most Popular Root Cause Analysis Tools

Root Cause Analysis Tools

As the RCA can be applicable to solving problems of multiple kinds, it has multiple tools as well.

You might also say that these are the 5 basic types of analysis methods an organization can adopt.

  1. 5 Whys

    This is one of the simplest methods to analyze root causes. The trick is to ask yourself why 5 times. This takes you to a deeper level of the problem and finds the root causes.

    Generally, the 4th and 5th reasons highlight the underlying causes that are the actual contributing factors for the issue.

    For example, if the team is facing missed deadlines more often, you need to ask 5 whys.

    • Why is the team not able to deliver the task before the deadline?
    • Why is the team not allowed enough time?
    • Why is the team working slow?
    • Why is there no training provided to the team to work efficiently?
    • Why is the team not motivated to finish the task on time?
  2. Fishbone Diagram

    This is a useful tool to perform root cause analysis effectively. It is named the fishbone diagram because it is shaped like rib bones in a fish skeleton. For this approach, you need to collect data first and group the possible causes into different categories, such as human causes, physical causes, and organizational causes.

    This makes it easy for you to analyze all the underlying problems and pinpoint the root cause.

  3. Fault Tree Diagram

    Similar to the fishbone diagram, this effect diagram is also named after the shape of the diagram. This tool for problem analysis makes you stream down to a central problem that might be causing multiple issues. Once the root problem is detected and resolved, the branch problems may get resolved on their own.

  4. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis

    Failure Mode and Effects Analysis is a method that helps organizations deal with complex problems. It notifies you about the potential failures, finds out why the problem exists, and helps you with making a good judgment in picking the action plan.

    In addition, it helps in analyzing the problem-solving approach and the effectiveness of the solution. Thus, it keeps you prepared for tackling such a core issue in the future.

  5. Challenger Interview

    As every team member is an integral part, you need to interview one person at a time. This is one of the processes of incident investigation. Ask them about how the problem occurred, the causal factor for the problem, and the possible solution.

    After getting all the possible underlying causes and the solutions, analyzing every one of them gets way easy.

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FAQs

The method of uncovering the root causes of troubles in order to discover the right solutions is termed Root cause analysis (RCA). It is more effective to analytically prevent and resolve core issues instead of just treating impromptu symptoms.

The 5 steps of root cause analysis are defining the problem, analyzing what are the events, identifying the exact symptoms, gathering data, identifying causal aspects, determining the root cause, and recommending and implementing solutions.

The major benefit of Root cause analysis is that it detects the underlying errors in the development procedure, allowing team members to perform the right actions to resolve the crises and halt them from recurring in the future.

Conclusion

From this blog, we gained an in-depth understanding of what Root Cause Analysis is. RCA is often used and a popular technique, helps individuals respond to the issue of why that problem appeared. 

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