Darryl Bachmeier
Jun 24, 2019

While we cannot always test the waters before we go through them, we can resort to a systematic way of analyzing a situation and mitigate the risks and of identifying a problem and finding a solution.

We can follow these steps like we used to back in middle school in Science class:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Observe and analyze
  3. Formulate a solution
  4. Make a conclusion

For organizations, you can follow the same backbone but only to expound step two, resulting in more outputs for step three, which also broadens your ability to cope with it the next time the problem happens.

Quality management is important for organizations as it centralizes the quality standard across all the branches of the organization. These branches were asked to simultaneously follow the same approaches as well as use the same tools and techniques to address a problem.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is one of the major facets involved in Total Quality Management, or TQM, for organizations. As part of quality improvement efforts, RCA is directed to uncover the roots of the problem.

Yes, that’s plural. Roots.

Compared with what most organizations are doing, delving into an expanded view of the problem that presents both direct and indirect causes help you arrive at multiple possible solutions. This means you have more opportunities to mitigate the risks and make plans A, B, C, and so forth.

Cause mapping in root cause analysis deploys different methods, strategies, and approaches that are appropriate to the nature of the problem or the industry of the organization. But regardless, it follows a system to uncover beyond what is in plain view to make more informed and long-term solutions.

Staging Root Cause Analysis can be simplified through these three problem-solving steps: What is the problem? Why did it happen? What is the solution?

Before starting Root Cause Analysis, organizations must pick key people to represent the concerned departments to expound on the views and ideas. Brainstorming has always been an effective way of broadening the perspective in terms of problem identification and problem-solving.

Aside from key representatives, also include key people that will serve as the final decision maker, a quality keeper, and a mitigator/facilitator with unbiased opinions on the matter. He could be someone outside the concerned departments.

Defining the Problem

When defining the problem, it should be set against the organization’s goals and explain how it felt short from them. You may encounter initial resistance at this point since it may turn out as blaming especially when concerning only one or some of the departments present.

Allowing disagreements can help the team see different views of the problem, but setting a standard, as I’ve mentioned, provides the direction and limit the chaos.

Analyzing the Causes

Firstly, communication channels and methods must be set. It is better to have it centralized to minimize misinformation. There should be regular meetings, say at least once a week, to tackle the problem and dissect the details down to its core.

At this point, the key people are going to just toss ideas and views to generate as much information. Brainstorming ends when the team feels that all aspects are explored and resources are exhausted. It is now time to sift these ideas and narrow down the root causes.

Root Cause Analysis is the longest among the three stages. Getting to the roots is a tedious but rewarding process because aside from arriving at its goal of getting a solution, it brings insights for organizations to improve on their methodologies and processes. For the people involved, it improves their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In the process, organizations may discover potential leaders and innovation.

Arriving at the Solution

The main purpose of Root Cause Analysis is to get to the core of the problem and cut the source to prevent recurrence.

To make it effective, you must be as exhaustive in exploring the possibilities and maximize your team’s collaboration. This is for you to gain a whole 360-degree view of the problem that is in plain sight, as well as dig deeper and have a broader understanding of the roots underneath.

Organizations will have tremendous benefits from having strong Root Cause Analysis methods. It is not only a professional but an efficient way of addressing a problem. It defers your team from doing trial and error which is not only immature but also wastes a lot of the company’s resources.

Making informed decisions reduces the risks and produces better results in the long-run.

It is time to elevate your organization’s general approach towards problem-solution analysis. Root Cause Analysis is a worthy investment of your organization’s time and efforts that leverage your decisions and brings improvement in imposing quality of outputs overall. Getting everyone involved not only provides more insights, views, and ideas but also strengthens your team as a whole.

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