Just as in life, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Things break or stop working properly, causing issues to occur. Instead of trying to bandage the issue up and fix a symptom, Root Cause Analysis allows you to figure out what’s causing the overall problem. After reading “Root Cause Analysis: Tracing a Problem to its Origins”, I realized this is a great method to use in many situations. A lot of us may already to this and not realize it.
By trying to find the root of the problem, this will fix many symptoms that might be going wrong. This will also give you a better understanding of what caused this problem, and how to prevent it in the future. You will begin to discover if the issues were coming from more of a material aspect or was it a human error that could have caused it. There are five steps that you will need to follow in order to properly conduct a root causing analysis.
In every situation, you will first define the problem. “What is specifically happening?” “What are some symptoms showing there is an issue?” Some of these can be very up front and clear to see. “The computer won’t turn on.” “My car won’t start.” Collecting Data is the next step in the process. Answering the questions, “What proof shows this exist?” “What is the impact of this problem?”, will allow you to go more in depth into your search. We know the car won’t start because the key is turning, but the car won’t turn on or the computer is plugged in, but nothing is coming up on the screen.
Step three is Identifying Possible Casual Problems. This can be what events might have led to this issue, what are the conditions allowing the problem to occur. This stage is important because you want to keep asking questions until you find the root of the problem. Continue to ask “Why?”, if you can break down the problem small enough to see all the parts, it will be better to understand. “Why is my gas light on?” “Why is there nothing turning on when I plug it in the outlet?” After answering all these questions, it leads you to step 4, in which you identify your root problem.
The last step is find the solution to the problem. “How can you prevent this in the future?”, “How will the solution be implemented?”, “What are the risks of implementing the solutions?”, will be questions you will need to answer to complete this step successfully. My car wouldn’t start because I ran out of fuel, so I will need to get gas and make sure next time I never go under a quarter of a tank. Although my computer is plugged in, my outlet isn’t working, so I will charge it with a different outlet and make sure to test it beforehand.
Following these steps can not only be helpful in your projects and your business, but can be used in everyday scenarios!