“If I were given an hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” Albert Einstein said.
Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People makes a similar finding. The story of the woodcutter who realizes the necessity to invest time in sharpening his axe before he goes ahead cutting the trees, each day, clearly points to the need to understand the 'Why' of every problem, before setting out to resolve it.
Wise men had always realized the importance of defining the root cause of any problem that has the probability to re-occur. Unfortunately, most business enterprises don’t probe the root cause as and when they tackle innovation projects. While developing novel projects and models within the business ecosystem, most of the companies fall behind the track in defining the exact problem that they attempt to solve; especially when the problems are important from a wider perspective.
In due course, every project will experience issues that might result in reduced productivity or increased expenses. Even well-planned projects tend to have certain problems. But what can be prevented is the re-occurrence of the problems which you had already resolved through multiple measures. The primary goal of Root Cause Analysis is to thrive deep into the real cause of the problem- the root cause. The previous blog on Design Thinking showed us why the customer needs to be the focal point. This blog speaks why it is highly essential to dive into the root cause of any problem before setting out to resolve the issue at hand.
What is Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) circles around a series of problem-solving methods that are deployed to identify the root cause of a non-coherent or peculiar problem. It revolves around a 5-step process that involves defining, data collecting, identifying possible factors and root cause along with recommending and implementing solutions.
How to Perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is generally a minor step in a broader problem resolution action. There exists a wide range of tools used during RCA, but the 5 Whys technique is the extensively used and most effective tools of the Root Cause analysis, which is often associated with Lean Manufacturing, where it is used to identify and remove wasteful practices.
Define the Problem
Before you initiate Root Cause Analysis, the problem must be thoroughly defined beyond doubts. Ideally, the following information must be identified and listed for proper guidance.
Who identified the problem?
What is the status of the problem when identified?
What has happened to the problem?
Where was the problem discovered?
When was the problem discovered?
How often is it happening?
Assemble the Team
Once the problem is defined, gather a team that is familiar with the intricacies of the problem- preferably employees who have a direct understanding of the process that was examined and the liability to implement the long-lasting solutions. The team should also bring in the workforce from every section that comes under the problem defined.
Once the team is assembled, they are required to collect the data or the related information which would then be followed by interim containment or corrective actions. The problem should be defined based on the data collected from the initial section.
Why perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?
In any business, the re-occurrence of any problem is a wastage of cost and resources. That happens when you try to fix just the symptom of the actual problem and not the root cause. Performed with efficiency the Root Cause Analysis can define the glaring breakdown in your business processes or ecosystems that had given rise to the non-coherent problems associated and can find out the methods to avoid its re-emergence.
The point is that RCA
can be applied to almost any type of problem that companies face every day. RCA
assists your company to pinpoint the factors that are instrumental for a
problem or event.
Most RCA specialists consider
that achievement of absolute deterrence by a single interference is not always
possible which makes RCA an ongoing process that strives for continuous
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