Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Musings on Root Cause

So what if there was an easier way to do root cause analysis? Could we, would we, do it better and easier and faster? Would that cause us to do less-firefighting?

This has me intrigued.

I scan my current knowledge of tools that could be applied:

  • Five Why. A well known Lean tool.
  • Fishbone Diagram. Separates material, methods, machines and personnel causes.
  • Theory of Constraints. Goldratt offers a complex but effective root cause system, most notably described in "It's Not Luck"
  • Phred Solutions, a small software firm in Colorado, is now offering a knowledge-based software tool, which is being used in several large companies, Shell, most notably.

The latter two are quite analytic. I've used Goldratt's technique with some success, but have not been able to transfer that knowledge to others. I suspect a Five Why worksheet might be more helpful as a realistic, easy-to-learn way of documenting the discovery of root cause. But, I wonder if I'm missing more than this.

I welcome your comments.

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