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What is the root cause analysis?

Root Cause Analysis is something that we all do when we want to solve a problem for good.

But what RCA actually means?

It means to find what caused the problem, to find out not only what went wrong in the beginning, but how, when and why as well.

Basically, RCA is a kind of collective term that represents a range of tools. It’s about approaches and techniques that can help solve the problem. It also can be a part of the more general problem-solving process and a vital element of further development.

When conducting RCA, it’s better to be conducted in a group of people working together than just by a single person.

There are a few levels that lead us to the solution of the root.

Defining the problem is the first thing, of course. Giving an answer on “What”, “Why”, “How” and “When” will provide us data needed to resolve the issue.

During that process, it’s necessary to evaluate collected data and keep trying to resolve the problem. All aspects have to be considered before continuing on to the conclusion of what was the cause of the problem. It needs to be examined and properly assessed. It’s advisable to include everyone who might understand the situation or who could help better and give a more flexible approach.

There is a Causal Factor Identification. This element represents any unforeseen, unintended contributor to an accident. In other words, it’s an undesirable condition or negative event. The point is to check if that would be removed, would it help avoid or prevent its appearance, or at least lower the possibility of an accident.

It’s time for a solution application. This part needs to satisfy a few factors in order to present how it would affect the problem if that would be applied. Point is to, with all gathered information which consists of “what”, “how” and “why” give the desired answer for solving the problem and keep it from to happen again.

Carrying out Root Cause Analysis usually consists of a technique known as “5 whys” to identify various casual factors until the root cause is defined.

It’s not enough just to examine and find a solution for symptoms but to verify its origin.


Cup of Joe: Root cause analysis

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