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Improve #15: STEP FOUR - Analyze the Root Cause

We are already half-way learning the process. We pinpointed the problem, we have broken it in parts, we have set target assignments and set deadlines for them. So, now it's time to talk about causes. Yes, "causes" but not just any "causes" but Root Cause of the problem

STEP FOUR - Analyze the Root Cause

One of the main issues when problem-solving is not understanding the differences between problems, symptoms, causes, and effects. That's right. Let's think of a real-life example: A flight is delayed because there is bad weather (not because the pilot takes too long to walk to the cockpit). A flight delay may become a problem for some passengers because they will miss a connecting flight. So, an experienced traveler that knows that bad weather may lead to missed connecting flights, he/she will immediately work on finding a new connecting flight instead of wasting time complaining to the airline about a delay. An experienced traveler knows how to identify the problem and its cause and therefore, by connecting a problem with the cause, does something about it.

The same thing happens in the problem-solving process. Knowing to recognize the difference between problems and their cause or causes is indispensable. Not being able to recognize the difference leads to a flawed solution.

Therefore, knowing the Root Cause is essential, and Analyzing the Root Cause is vital because it will help you identify the actual factors that caused the issue in the first place. To analyze correctly, we must identify the factors that cause the problem. These are generally more than one. More often than not, there are multiple root causes to analyze.

Make sure you are considering all potential root causes and addressing them properly.

So, don't get stuck with just one. You can start with a few and use the process of elimination until you get to the Root Cause.


Remember our case story? Let's assume that the problem is "Too many returned shoes". Can you think of a few root causes of the problem?

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