Phases of Root Cause Analysis
The method of RCA has seven discrete phases. Each of these phases has a significant contribution in performing the analysis. These methods should be followed for successful execution of root cause analysis.
The seven phases are:-
1 1. Define the problem clearly:-
This is the first and the most critical phase of RCA. The problem to be analyzed must be clearly defined. Ambiguities should be avoided because if you get this phase wrong the entire process and effort may get wasted. It should be clearly stated what is to be prevented from recurring.
2 2. Gather the required data or evidence regarding the problem to be analyzed:-
To carry out RCA there must be some evidence or data available to prove that a problem exists within a system. Impact the problem has, along with the duration of existence of the problem should be carefully recorded. The situation should be analyzed fully before the causes that affect the problem are taken into account. With data the outcome of the actions can be predicted.
3 3. Identify the casual relationships which are related with the problem defined in the step one:-
In this phase all the events that lead to the problem are figured out. A sequential relationship is established between all the events that occurred. Those conditions which existed before and after the occurrence of the problem should be determined. Also the problems surrounding the central problem should be analyzed because a resulting problem could have been triggered by some other problem.
4 4. The causes which if changed or removed will help to prevent the recurrence should be identified:-
The causes that have the biggest impact on the system are identified. The reason of the existence of casual factors is found out. The causes that have the most occurrences or have the maximum impact on the performance of the system are normally the factors that should be changed or removed.
5 5. Figure out the corrective actions (or solutions) to prevent the recurrence of the problems or causes:-
What kind of corrective actions (or solutions) should be taken to immediately control the problem should be determined. These actions should immediately control the problem and should help to prevent their future occurrence. To implement the actions or solutions following factors must be considered:-
a. The actions or the solutions are feasible to be implemented. This will include feasibility factors for cost of implementation and resources in terms of time, effort, man power etc.
b. The actions must be aligned with the objectives for which RCA is being done.
c. What new risks would be introduced by these actions? Will the system be able to handle these new risks or not?
6 6. Implementation of the recommended corrective actions (or solutions):-
Those solutions or corrective actions are recommended that would prevent the recurrence of the problem again. How to implement this solution is also considered as it should not violate any of the factors given in phase 5.
7 7. The corrective actions (or solutions) recommended should be analyzed to check for their effectiveness:-
This phase is also called as follow up phase. This phase deals with making sure that the implemented corrective actions (or solutions) are effective enough to control the recurrence of the same type of errors or problems again. The periodic tracking is done so as to review that whether the corrective actions are implemented as desired and are functioning properly. If a problem which was supposedly corrected occurs again, the corrective actions must be analyzed to figure out why the implemented actions were not effective.
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