By Fred Schenkelberg
The ability to determine a root cause of a failure is a skill. It requires agility, leadership, inquisitiveness, diligence, and technical skill. Successful RCA taps into your creativity and technical prowess. Using a structure approach helps.
There are many challenges when attempting to determine the root cause of a failure. The desire to find and implement a solution quickly. The lack of resources and equipment immediately available.
Let’s discuss the common challenges and discuss a few ideas on solving or avoiding these obstacles.
Keeping in mind that some symptoms may mask or share underlying failure mechanisms. The understanding the underlying physics, chemistry, code, and interactions may present a formable challenge. The creating of hypotheses allow for a structured scientific approach to gaining a fundamental understanding of a problem.
Sometimes, a good enough understanding is all you can manage. Let’s discuss when you have sufficient understanding of a failure mechanism to implement a solution. There are theatrical and empirical approaches along with a bit of creativity that can help you efficiently conduct RCA.
Overall a great method to address both the interpersonal and technical challenges is a structure approach to RCA. One method, there are many, is called 8 Disciplines. Let’s review this basic process so you can employ it for your next RCA.