Root Cause Analysis (RCA)

Root Cause Analysis is used to analyze the root cause of a positive or negative event. The purpose is to take corrective actions to prevent the recurrence of a negative outcome or facilitate a positive outcome.

What is the root cause?

  • A cause, if corrected, will prevent the recurrence of a problem.
  • It will also prevent the occurrence of similar problems.
  • It is the most basic reason for the problem that can be logically identified and corrected.
  • There could be multiple root causes of a problem.

How to Perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA)?

There are four broad strategies or approaches for Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and problem-solving:

1. Five Why's

2. Cause and Effect Diagram

3. A3 Problem Solving Approach

4. Eight Disciplines or 8D Problem Solving Approach

Depending upon the complexity of the problem, you can choose one of these approaches.


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  • What are the commonly used tools and techniques for the Root Cause Analysis?

    While taking the above mentioned four approaches, there are many tools and techniques which could be applied. Here is the list of commonly used tools in the root cause analysis.

    1. Seven Basic Quality Tools (Cause and Effect Analysis, Flow Chart, Check Sheet, Pareto Chart, Scatter Plot, Control Charts and Histograms)

    2. Descriptive Statistics (Mean, Mode, Median, Range and Standard Deviation)

    3. Graphs and Charts (Box and Whisker Plot, Individual Value Plot, Bar Chart, Pie Chart, Bubble Chart, Matrix Plot, and Time Series)

    4. Value Stream Mapping

    5. Tools for D1 (Establish the Team): Team Roles, Team Stages, Conflict Management and Negative Team Behaviours

    6. Tools for D2 (Describe the Problem): 5W2H, SIPOC, Gemba Walk and Stakeholder Analysis

    7. Tools for D3 (Interim Containment): Identification and Traceability

    8. Tools for D4 (Root Cause Analysis): Brainstorming, Nominal Group Technique and Affinity Diagram

    9. Tools for D5 (Develop CA): Poka-yoke, Force Field Analysis, Control Plan and Benefit-Cost Analysis

    10. Tools for D6 (Implement CA): Gantt Chart, RACI Matrix, Reports and Dashboard

    11. Tools for D7 (Prevent Recurrence): FMEA