What is RCAS An analytical technique used to determine the basic underlyingreason that causes a variance or a defect or a risk. (PMI, 2013)S Structured process designed to help an organization defineproblems that caused past events, understand their causes andprevent recurrence. (Hughes, Hall and Rygaard, 2009)S Examining the nature of why risks are happening (or mayhappen) and what can be done to alter the environment tominimize or eliminate the cause. (Pritchard, 2010)S It helps identify what, how and why something happened thuspreventing recurrence. (Rooney, 2004)
What are root causesS An initiating cause that gives rise to a causal chain whichmay give rise to risks. (PMI, 2009)S Rooney, J (2004) defines root causes as being;S Specific underlying causes,S Can reasonably be identified,S Management has control to fix them, andS Those for which effective recommendation for preventingrecurrence can be generated
Steps involved in RCAS 1. Define the problemS 2. Define a causal understanding and analyzecause/effectS 3. Identify solutions –a) analyze solutions b) select thebest solutionsS 4. Design metrics and track effectiveness
1. Define the problemS This is the what statement, referred to as the primaryeffect in an RCAS Define the type and scope of risk that needs to bemitigatedS Draft a formal statement that defines the problem, whereand when it occurred (including frequency), and itssignificance
2. Define a causalunderstanding and analyzecause/effectS This is the why statement.S Create a cause-and-effect chart to understand why aproblem happened and the evidence proving it.S What are the causal relationships among all theinterdependent sets of action and conditional causes?S What are all the risk agents and conditions under which therisk agents could occur and cause an adverse outcome?S Conduct a cause-and-effect analysis of the major causepaths on the chart to identify common causes
3. Identify solutionsS A) analyze solutionsS Evaluate the potential effectiveness of various solutionsrelative to the cost of the problems and the solution’sprobability for success.S Focus more on identifying the risk of specific individualcauses rather than generic categories of causes.(Rooney, 2004)
Identify solutionsS B) select the best solutionsSelect the best solutions using predetermined criteria for exampleS buy-in from those responsible for implementing the newsolution,S best value/return on investment/cost benefit,S will it address multiple causes and common causes,S how quickly can it be implemented to immediately reducevulnerability,S is it long term and does it increase the certainly of preventingrecurrence. Etc.
4. Design metrics and trackeffectivenessS Properly prescribed solutions must take shape in theform of a specific action, accomplished by a specificperson(s), within a specific timeframeS Each solution must be assigned a metric and a deadlineby which it will be tracked to ensure that it’s effective inpreventing the cause(s) it is acting on (Gano, 2007)S Once the success of a solution is confirmed, it can beideally implemented where the same causes are creatingriskS The more causes are controlled, the greater theprobability that problem recurrence is reduced
Pros & Cons of RCAPROS CONSIt uncovers relationships betweencauses and symptoms of problemsWhy wait for an incident to performa root cause analysis?Works to solve issues at the rootitselfYou eliminate taking action onpossible causesProvides tangible evidence ofcause and effect and solutionsDelays a response to the lastresponsible moment when theactual root cause of an effect isidentified.A learning process to follow forthorough understandings ofrelationships
ConclusionS Although RCAs are often considered reactive to an incident orproblem, they are actually proactively working to eliminate riskand prevent the same problem from recurring. It can bevaluable to perform RCAs on hypothetical problems orscenarios an organization is likely to encounter.S When one company encounters a problem, others from withinthe same industry and beyond can learn from it lessons thatinclude;S what incidents to analyze, the circumstances that cause it tohappen, solutions to be proactively implemented to eliminatethose circumstances and avoid it.
ReferencesS Gano, D.L. (2007). Apollo root cause analysis: A new way of thinking (3rd ed.)Yakima, WA: Apollonian PublicationsS Hughes, B., Hall, M., Rygaard, D. (2009). Using root-cause analysis toimprove risk management. Professional safety magazine by the AmericanAssociation of Safety EngineersS Pritchard, C. (2010). Risk management: Concepts and guidance.Arlington, VA: ESI InternationalS Project Management Institute (2013). A guide to the project managementbody of knowledge. (5th Ed.). Newton Square, PA: Author.S Project Management Institute (2009). Practice Standard for Project RiskManagement. Newton Square, PA: Author.S Rooney, J., (2004). Root Cause Analysis for Beginners. Quality progressmagazine, vol. 37(7). The H.W. Wilson Company
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