Ever wondered how effective leaders solve problems and prevent them from recurring? The answer lies in identifying the root cause.

Root cause analysis is a systematic approach to help enterprises identify the problems or failures and develop a strategy that will eliminate the root problem to avoid it from relapsing in the future. A primary goal of root cause analysis is to prevent recurring issues by addressing the underlying problem. By doing this, an organization can propose sustainable short-term and long-term solutions.

No one can deny, including you, that each step in solving a problem is vital. One of the most important steps to prevent a problem’s recurrence is implementing corrective actions and observation. Once the problem is identified, it can only be solved by implementing appropriate actions. Without such actions, the problem may persist or temporarily subside, but the chances of recurrence remain high.

An example of root cause analysis is the diagnostic process in the field of medicine. For instance, hypertension can be caused by abnormal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. Typically, a physician would prescribe medication to help the body process excess fats, thereby reducing the patient’s blood pressure caused by abnormal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. This serves as an excellent example of root cause analysis.

Here Are 12 Strategies That Can Help You In Root Cause Analysis

Know the Problem

A person who comprehensively knows what the problem is all about is most likely to give a solution specifically to the root of it all. You must start by identifying clearly what is the problem, specifically what are the symptoms, and how it has made an impact on you and other people, and take note of the data and evidence related to the problem that arose.

Assemble a Team

What appears as a ‘6’ to one person might be a ‘9’ to another; it’s all a matter of perspective. You must assemble a team with different expertise, and different backgrounds who can greatly add their perspective to the problem. Getting opinions from others will facilitate an effective exchange of ideas, and will help others gain knowledge from those who are experts in their respective fields. The team could or should consist of stakeholders, experts on the subject at hand, and individuals from different departments who can greatly contribute to the implementation, or decision-making process.

Collect Data

Data gathering is crucial, especially when it relates to failure. In many circumstances, reports, logs, documentation, interview, and other data that cannot be altered is relevant information in the process of root cause analysis. The more relevant information you have regarding the problem, the more possible it is for you to resolve and understand deeper what is the problem.

Utilize Structured Analyzation Techniques

There are different types of structure in root cause failure analysis, one of which is the Whys, which discusses and explores the possible cause and effect of a certain problem. Another type that can be used is fishbone diagrams, fault tree analysis, or causal factor charting. This will help the organization to begin with the most general, and narrow down what could be the root cause of the problem that is being faced by the organization.

Perform Interviews and Brainstorming

Interviewing individuals involved in the failure, or those knowledgeable about it, is crucial to deepen your understanding of the problem from those directly involved. Facilitating a brainstorming session will allow you to gather more data and perspectives from the group. Furthermore, encouragement of open and honest communication is a must to extract some effective information that will be useful in analyzing the root cause of problems.

Consider it Could be Human Factors

Considering that the failure might be due to human factors can aid in addressing the issue. These factors could include training, communication, procedures, and workload that may have contributed significantly to the failure. Human error and faulty communication can be a really great factor in failure. Identifying the problems that could be caused by human errors and drafting a strategy that will address them in the long run.

Consider it Could be Systemic Factors

After analyzing the possible human errors, look at the systemic factors, events, or actions that contributed to the failure. Draw a general picture, and narrow it down to the problem. This could include the organization’s culture, the processes in the organization, the work culture, the equipment, or other systemic issues.

Prioritize What Has To be Prioritized

The reason for communication and brainstorming is to know the root cause of the problem or failure. Say that you were able to identify the problem, the next thing to do is to prioritize it, and dig deeper into it to see when it started, how it started, who the people involved, the systemic factors contributed to it; and take a closer look at the severity that the problem cause, frequency, and what are the possible prevention that could be implemented by the organization.

Design Altering Action

Once you are given the chance to know the problem and prioritize it, the next thing to lean on is the course of action that you will take in order for the problem not to reoccur. You must develop root-specific actions to address the problem and where it is coming from. You must always remember that your goal is to stop the same thing from happening again in the future. Always note that the solution should show short-term and long-term benefits for the organization.

Strict Implementation and Monitoring

Implementing for the sake of just complying is one of the faulty things that an organization commits, this allows the problem or failure to easily penetrate the organization, leaving the people to do the solution countless times to solve the recurring problem. Strict implementation of the solution will enable the company to resolve the problem. Close monitoring and progress tracking of the implementation will enhance the organization’s preventative measures.

Share Takeaways

Transparency is important. You must be able to let the whole organization know your findings, and what you are up to to solve the problem. You must facilitate the sharing of takeaways with the stakeholders, employees, management, and teams from other departments. This promotes exposure and helps prevent problems from occurring in other areas or departments.

Establish a Health Environment

Having a culture that continuously strives for improvement is one of the major takeaways for root cause failure analysis. You must encourage the people to report potential problems and allow them to be processed in resolving the issue. This will give them the knowledge that they should be transparent to avoid a stressful environment at work.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, what has been said, root cause analysis is a process mostly present in organizations that may face several failures and setbacks. The root cause analysis helps the organization prevent the recurrence of any problem already faced. With proper brainstorming, digging in, implementation, and monitoring, an organization will strive to be the best it could possibly be.

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