Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Maddening Effectiveness of Root-Cause Analysis

Dang, I wish it didn't work so well. 
The problem presented last week.  I gathered the objective data surrounding it.  I pondered the data. 
And then asked why.  Writing my question down.
I wrote the answer.  On a piece of paper.  In a complete sentence
I asked why again.  In writing.
And wrote the answer THAT question.  In another complete sentence.
I sat and thought.  And did it a third time. 
More thought...and a fourth written question and answer.
At that point, I got upset.  I had hit the root cause.  I knew it.  And I didn't like the answer.  Yet, it was undeniable.  It made incredible sense, explaining both the observed problem and several related issues.  All at the same time. 
The fact that I didn't like the root cause gave it added credence.  I was something I avoided because it was hard to fix. 
And I wonder:  how often this is a subtle blockage to individuals and teams doing good root cause analysis?  How often am I fearful of Really Knowing just what is at the root of some undesirable outcome?
Makes me think. 
Keep on learning. 

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