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Guidance to choose the right Root Cause Analysis Form
The phrase 'Root Cause Analysis' is used to describe a variety of lean tools and methods
that each provide a systematic, teachable, coachable approach to identify root causes
(not just symptoms)
Whenever something goes wrong (or might go wrong)
that caused (or might cause) enough damage, pain, and cost
to justify investing a few minutes to ensure that it never happens (again)
For the same reasons that you use any software
to remind your team of all the factors to consider every time that you do this (infrequent) process improvement activity
and understandable, even to people who didn't participate in drawing it
with an Excel file or PDF that can be shared, discussed, and socialized
The most popular well-known tool for root cause problem solving
is the Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram (RootCause.xlsx)
It is the right tool to use when...
Once you learn how to use this tool, it is lightning fast to use — even when facilitating a large group
which can be succinctly stated in the fish head
so (as the leader) you want to take the extra time to use the (optional) Systems2win feature to import already-known causes from your FMEA... so that your team can then brainstorm other possible causes... which can then be added to your FMEA and Control Plans to make sure that those newly-conceived possibilities never happen.
and you might not want to take the time to introduce your team to something new
The Root Cause Analysis Map (RootMap.xlsx)
is equally easy to use, and yet usually proves to yield more thorough analysis, and is therefore often a better choice for root cause analysis.
It is the right tool to use when...
Perhaps using the (optional) Problem Analysis section Perhaps using advanced features of the Countermeasures section
Once your people learn how to use their Root Cause Map, it can be just about as fast as a Fishbone Diagram
that caused enough damage to put your team in the spotlight of your high-level management... if not the press
Thought Map Relations Diagram
If you really don't know what to put in the fish head
because you're swimming in problems, and can't choose which one to focus on first...
then that's the time to consider using your
Thought Map Relations Diagram (RelationsDiagram.xlsx)
You might only use this template once in your career
but it might save your career when you do
The bars on your Pareto Chart template (Pareto.xlsx)
show which things happen most frequently
(so that you can focus on root causes of your most common problems)
Use your Scatter Plot template (ScatterPlot.xlsx)
to look for a relationship
in graphed pairs of numerical data
The decision of whether or not to use
your Brainstorming template (Brainstorming.docx)
is not an 'either / or' choice
A skilled facilitator will be ready to introduce a team
to diverse brainstorming methods
no matter which other tools or approaches are also being used
Gemba Interview Form
Why not ask the people who do the work every day?
Rather than just silently observing... and then huddling in a conference room to make guesses about root causes,
if you get in the habit of discussing skillful questions with the people that do the work, you will often find that they have useful intuitive insights and ideas.
8D Problem Solving
If your problem might involve other members of your supply chain
then your 8D Problem Solving template (8D.xlsx)
has a special feature to 'Generate a Working Document', so that you can circulate your root cause analysis problem solving document with your suppliers (and supply chain members that might not yet own a license for Systems2win)
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
It has been said that "an FMEA is an 8D waiting to happen"
Rather than waiting to do post-mortem root cause analysis on accidents and incidents that have already inflicted damage...
a more competent team will get proactive...
and use their FMEA templates and systems to anticipate, minimize, and prevent potential risks
(and especially root causes of potential risks)
Five Whys Template
The simplest form of root cause analysis
is to simply ask "Why?" several times
Your Systems2win templates don't include a Five Whys template
but you will find several free ones on the Internet
The right way to use a Five Whys PowerPoint template
is to create a succinct summary of the one most important Cause and Effect thread
that your team came up with as a result of using one of the (thorough) root cause analysis tools above.
The wrong way to use a Five Whys template
is to try to short-cut the process by following only 1 thread of Cause and Effect relationships
and then proudly proclaiming that you are "using lean methods"
Although there are rare situations where a problem is so simple that you might justifiably use this extremely abbreviated approach... but much more commonly... this would be an example of 'fake lean'.
to empower every team member to improve every process
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