Understanding  Root Cause Analysis

Root cause analysis is the process of identifying the underlying problem that leads to an incident or event. It is a crucial tool used by individuals and organizations to prevent future occurrences of the same problem. The process involves several steps that help uncover the primary cause of an issue, enabling individuals and organizations to implement the appropriate solutions. In this post, we will explore answers to seven popular questions about root cause analysis.

What is Root Cause Analysis Process?

The root cause analysis process involves four main steps:

  1. Identify the problem or incident
  2. Collect data and facts related to the problem
  3. Analyze data to determine possible causes
  4. Identify the root cause(s) of the problem

What are Root Cause Analysis Steps?

There are several steps involved in root cause analysis, including:

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Collecting data
  3. Identifying possible causes
  4. Testing possible causes
  5. Identifying root causes
  6. Implementing solutions
  7. Monitoring and verifying effectiveness

What are Root Cause Analysis Examples?

Examples of issues that can benefit from root cause analysis include:

  1. Workplace accidents or incidents
  2. Product defects or failures
  3. Customer complaints
  4. System or process breakdowns

What are Root Cause Analysis Templates?

Root cause analysis templates provide a framework for conducting thorough investigations with consistency and structure. There are several templates available, including fishbone diagrams, 5 whys, and Ishikawa diagrams.

How Does 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis Work?

The 5 whys method is a straightforward technique used in root cause analysis to identify the underlying problem's root cause(s). It involves asking "why" repeatedly until no further meaningful answers can be given.

Problem: Product defects
1st Why: Why did it happen? Answer: Poor material quality.
2nd Why: Why was the material quality poor? Answer: Supplier shipped the wrong material.
3rd Why: Why did supplier ship the wrong material? Answer: The communication was not clear.
4th Why: Why was the communication not clear? Answer: The requirements were not communicated effectively.
5th Why: Why were the requirements not communicated effectively? Answer: The team did not have a proper communication plan in place.

What Are The Benefits Of Root Cause Analysis?

The benefits of root cause analysis include:

  1. Improved problem-solving skills
  2. Increased efficiency and productivity
  3. Reduced costs and waste
  4. Increased customer satisfaction
  5. Improved decision-making

What Are Good Books On Root Cause Analysis?

Here are five excellent books on root cause analysis:

  1. "Root Cause Analysis Handbook: A Guide to Effective Incident Investigation" by ABS Consulting
  2. "The 5 Whys Handbook: Simple, Effective Problem Solving" by Kobayashi Isao
  3. "Root Cause Analysis Made Easy" by Bjorn Andersen
  4. "Root Cause Analysis: Simplified Tools and Techniques" by Muhammed Ilyas Khan
  5. "The Ishikawa Toolbox: A practical guide to using Ishikawa diagrams" by Emiliano Carchia.

In conclusion, root cause analysis plays an essential role in resolving issues and preventing future occurrences in individual and organizational settings. By following the process's steps and using templates like 5 whys, individuals can identify underlying problems and apply effective solutions with ease for better outcomes.


  1. ABS Consulting.(2017). Root Cause Analysis Handbook: A Guide to Effective Incident Investigation.

  2. Kobayashi Isao.(2018). The 5 Whys Handbook: Simple, Effective Problem Solving.

  3. Bjorn Andersen.(2020). Root Cause Analysis Made Easy.

4.Muhammed Ilyas Khan.(2012).Root Cause Analysis: Simplified Tools and Techniques.

5.Emiliano Carchia.(2018). The Ishikawa Toolbox: A practical guide to using Ishikawa diagrams.

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