Root cause analysis – tracing a problem to its origins. Yes, it is the process of discovering the root causes of a problem to present appropriate solutions. Yes, this analysis is not only about digging deep into casual factors of a problem but also proposing appropriate solutions to mitigate the problem.
How often do you analyse a problem for its root causes? Probably not because many of you only go for the easy solution and take a turn around the problem to solve a different path. The primary reason for this is the people’s lack of knowledge about root cause analysis methods. Hence, today’s article mentions the methods and tools that can help you analyse a problem for its root causes. However, before discussing the methods, let’s define root cause analysis.
What does it mean by root cause analysis?
Root cause analysis is a process to help people understand the root causes of different problems that happened to them. The main aim of the analysis is to learn why a particular problem has arisen in the first place. This analysis is done by digging deeper into the problem and answering the following questions:
- What happened?
- Why does it happen?
- What to do to reduce the likelihood that it will happen again?
These are the three questions answering which you can get the answer to your problem. Additionally, knowing the different types of causes that can impact the problem is also necessary. Best writers of a cheap dissertation writing service have shared the three types of causes, which are as follows:
- Physical causes. This problem talks about the impact of the failure of a tangible item on the problem. For example, an MRI machine stops working at the hospital.
- Human causes. As the name suggests, such causes are caused by humans. It means one or a group of persons did something incorrectly that later led to the problem.
- Organisational causes. This type of cause says that the whole system of an organisation or a company is faulty. For example, the designated persons to do a job in an organisation do not do their jobs properly due to system failure.
How to do root cause analysis in a better way?
From the discussion, you are familiar with the meaning of the root cause analysis and the three types of causes that often lead to the problems. Now, when your basics about this analysis are firm and concrete, let’s describe how to perform this analysis in a better way. Hence, a brief description of the 5 steps is as follows:
1. Defining the problem
The first and the most important in performing a root cause analysis is defining the problem first-hand. It means to analyse what you see happening. Identifying the causes, whether physical, human, or organisational, does not come under this stage. At this stage, you only need to define the problem. So, remember to clearly define the problem because you will get to the root cause and solution.
2. Gathering the data about the problem
The next step says to gather the data about the problem. Collect as many pieces of evidence as possible that can help you identify the underlying causes of the problem. To gather useful data, running a case study about the problem, incident investigation, or accident analysis are common methods. Apply any method that suits your research expertise and collect the data related to the problem.
3. Identifying the causal factors
The third step is identifying the causal factors that may have led to the problem. It could be physical, human, or organisational factors. As you have all the relevant data, identify as many factors as possible. Remember, this stage is not the deciding stage in which you can decide the possible root cause. You are only required to identify the number of causes that have led to the problem, and that is it.
4. Determining the root cause of the problem
The 4th most important step in a root cause analysis is determining the root cause of the problem. This step is also important because this is also the actual goal of performing a root cause analysis on a problem. However, to determine the root cause, you need to take help from different analysis tools. What are those tools? A brief description of the 5 tools to determine the root cause is as follows:
- 5 whys method. This method consists of a set of 5 questions whose answers help you identify the root cause of the problem. The series of questions help you drill down into the core of the problem. Please note that you can use more than 5 steps if needed.
- Scatter plot diagram. A scatter diagram uses pairs of data points to uncover the relationships between different variables. Draw a diagram using independent and dependent variables; if the result is a straight line, the variables are correlated.
- Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA). It is another systematic method to get to the failures or root causes of the problem. This method explores each cause in the form of a chart and helps you identify the root cause.
- Fishbone diagram. Also known as the Ishikawa diagram, this diagram helps you identify the cause and effect of a problem. The fish’s spine represents the problem, and the rib bones represent different causes.
- Pareto chart. This method is a statistical way of getting to the root cause in a root cause analysis. Using this method, you make a histogram which groups different causes of a problem.
5. Recommend and implement solutions
Recommending and implementing the solutions is the last step of this analysis. After applying the methods mentioned above, you get to the root cause. After this, the only thing that remains is recommending the solutions, and you do this at last.
Conclusively, root cause analysis is important to understand and solve the problem. Doing this analysis is easy if you know all the steps and root cause-finding tools involved. So, read all the tools and steps mentioned above to solve the problem effectively. Reading these tools is your key to proposing appropriate solutions.