What is the Core Knowledge in Root Cause Analysis?

It is common to see why-why analysis, logic-trees, fishbone diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, and barrier analysis diagrams put in the forefront when explaining root cause analysis.

While these tools can be useful when analyzing problems, they are hardly the core of problem solving or root cause analysis.  The charts can be a good way to organize the information collected for problem solving, but more often than not, the large wall charts intimidate people from participating in root cause. 

Root cause analysis will never become really effective until it is implemented at the frontline of an organization (hourly and supervisors). It is the frontline that often has the opportunity to collect valid data and information of in order to solve problems. The frontline usually resist large amount of documentation and “complicated” charts.

A tip is to focus on a simple documentation process where most of the training is spent on the thinking skills rather than the documentation skills.

For example, once we have a problem statement and have defined the problem well with facts and data.

How do we come up with possible solutions?

Most courses and books spend very little or no time at all, on the actual thinking aids available to come up with hypotheses.

What are the thinking techniques for helping us to come up with these ideas?

Where do we start to look?

More on root cause analysis and root cause problem elimination

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Torbjörn Idhammar

President & CEO, IDCON Inc. Reliability and Maintenance Consultant

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