Objective: Perform a root cause analysis to better understand a problem scenario.
- Apply analysis techniques to understand the causes of a problem.
- Identify stakeholders by looking at underlying causes.
- Understand the different roles and uses of each technique.
Step 1: Choose a problem scenario (5 minutes)
In breakout groups, choose a problem scenario. It can be a scenario from your work experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Feel free to use one from the list of ideas below, but make sure at least one member of your group has experience or is familiar with the problem:
- Our organization’s meetings never start on time.
- We have an electronic calendaring system, but no one uses it.
- Prescriptions are not being filled in a timely manner. (i.e., the CVS case)
- A worm was found in food prepared and delivered by a non-profit.
(i.e., the Akshaya Patra case)
- or something else of your choice…
Step 2: Affinity Analysis (15 minutes)
- Use the Affinity Analysis Template provided on the course site.
- Rephrase your problem scenario in the form of a question (for example, “Why don’t our organization’s meeting start on time?”)
- Think of answers to this question, putting every answer on a separate “virtual” post-it note on slide 2 of the Template
- For each answer on the post-it note, identify further issues related to that question
- So if an answer was “…Because people arrive late,” you could come up with answers to the question “Why do people arrive late?”)
- You may also come up with additional issues unrelated to the initial causes you’ve identified. Write those down on a post-it- note too.
- Once you feel the group has exhausted this process, group related post-it notes together into themes by copying and pasting them from slide 2 to slide 1.
- Make a note of the themes you’ve identified. Do some themes have more post-it notes in them than others? What might this indicate?
Step 3: Identify stakeholders (15 minutes)
- Look at your groupings (themes) and the post-it notes contained within them.
- Use the groupings and your notes to identify the major stakeholders.
- For each stakeholder in this problem, identify who is:
Step 4: Class Debrief (15 minutes)
Be prepared to discuss the following questions:
- What did you learn from each phase of this analysis? For example:
- Initial causes
- Further elaboration
- Grouping into themes
- Identifying stakeholders
- What is the role of this type of analysis in finding technology solutions that solve business problems?
- Can you think of an example from your analysis?
- What factors do you think would affect how well this technique would work in practice?