The Four Expected Outcomes of Root Cause Analysis

The Four Expected Outcomes of Root Cause Analysis
August 16, 2011 seouser
Root Cause Analysis

Outcome #3 – There should be an improved understanding of all the processes and associated processes related to the issue. It will be necessary for you to run through the processes several times and to replicate the fault that led to the problem. In fact in order to be able to solve the problem and to ensure that it does not happen again you will need to replicate the fault. So you will need to repeat the process over and over again until that fault has repeated itself. An example of a problem that eluded us for a frustratingly long time was that one of our customers told us that at a specific point in the workflow our software system crashed. But we could just not replicate it and nor could the customer replicate it; until several weeks later it happened again with the same customer’s staff member. So we had to question the staff member to understand exactly what they did, what happened, how it happened and when did it happen. It turned out that they were working from home and that they had an unreliable broadband connection, the online software system would not always react to an instruction and in order to complete a task they would click on task buttons numerous times. We then went about replicating the event on our network and found the problem that made the system crash after the same button was clicked 20 times. It was not easy as the unreliable broadband connection had to be duplicated before the problem could be detected. So without a complete understanding of the process and a perfect replication of the environment and the event we could not have found the fault.

Outcome #4 – You now should be able to create the structure for a corrective action plan. This needs to take into account all elements of the issue which must be dealt with so that the fault does not recur. So if a new process is required to be developed, rather than a simple modification of the current one, then this needs to be laid out. It will need to cover the testing of the new process, the training of the personnel responsible for day to day implementation of the new process and anything else to ensure exact and effective resolution of the problem. It is also important to check that the solution does not create a new problem. Root cause analysis and corrective action are symbiotic processes. In other words they depend on each other. So it is important that an effective corrective action plan must have been preceded by root cause analysis. Also root cause analysis must be followed by a corrective action plan.