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Step-by-Step Guide to Root Cause Analysis

While carrying out projects, the team faces various kinds of problems that even professionals fail to analyze the exact cause of it. Not applying the right methodology to identify the causes of the problems results in the failure of a project. Moreover, the success of a project depends on its ability to mitigate any kind of problem arising out of a project before its occurrence. The popular method to do so, is the root cause analysis method.

Root Cause Analysis

What is Root Cause Analysis?

Root Cause Analysis is the popular method used to identify the underlying cause of a problem associated with projects. This cause can even become the main issue that can disrupt the entire operations of a business. Mitigating such issues in the earlier stage allows organizations to dodge several damages which may occur in the future. The age old practice followed by enterprises is to eliminate the symptoms of a problem rather than its root cause. Although this solves the current issues at hand, without eliminating its root cause, a project is never safe from risks.

So how should organizations find the root causes of the problems arising out of projects? This question has the simplest answer, which is to ask “why”. For instance, a project management professional might detect a few issues in the project at an early stage. The solution is to ask the following questions to the personnel involved.

Why did this problem occur?

Why did the task fail?, or

Why was this solution chosen?

Asking these questions and engaging in finding the right answers to them, helps a project manager in finding the root cause of the problem. Rather than the symptoms, a project professional is required to find the factors responsible for the rise of the problem for effective project management. Following a streamlined approach to identifying the root cause of the problem enables organizations to have continued success.

5 Steps to perform Root Cause Analysis:

Let us take a look at the following process that project management professionals apply for finding the root causes,

Step 1: To Identify

Identifying what went wrong in the first place is the initial action that organizations are required to take. Based on the type of problem that has occurred, project professionals need to find the possible root causes. These problems can be due to the resources involved or at the organizational level. Finding the most accurate one responsible for current issues faced by the organization can be quite a challenge. However, a project management professional holds the necessary expertise to identify what caused the problem and its symptoms.

Step 2: Gather data

Upon identifying the problem which is harming business operations, the next step is to gather all the data associated with it. Project professionals need to ask the right questions like “How long has the problem existed?”, or “What impact is it having on the critical operations of business”.

Gathering accurate data to such questions play a significant role. Project professionals can ask the project team about the specific issues they face while carrying out the tasks.  Collecting such perspectives proves to be valuable for identifying the root cause of the problem.

Step 3: Assess the causal factors

The actual process of root cause analysis depends on the factors affecting the problem. Project professionals need to analyze the dependency of the current issue with other problems of the organization. Finding this dependency makes it easier for professionals to find the root cause. Additionally, these causal factors are one of the major reasons why a problem would persist for longer periods than necessary.

Step 4:  Find the solution

At this stage, project professionals can clearly draw the problem and its outline symptoms.  With the collected data, project managers can utilize their expertise in assessing all the factors of the problem and draft a conclusion. This conclusion should have all the answers to the questions raised during each step of conducting root cause analysis.

Step 5: Take action

The last step of performing root cause analysis method is to make the necessary decisions to eliminate the problems arising out of a project. This involves another series of steps wherein project professionals are required to find a solution for the problem analyzed. Furthermore, to avoid the same problems in future, project management professionals need to ensure that the solution drawn is the most adequate choice.

To Conclude:

Root Cause Analysis is just one of the methods that project managers can employ while identifying and resolving project-related issues. This method can be clubbed with various others to find and eliminate all possible issue that can arise while carrying out a project.

Professionals who handle various kinds of projects on a daily basis can acquire a deeper understanding of Root Cause Analysis through PMP Certification Training course. The sessions are designed to impart all the required expertise needed for successfully completing a project.              

Posted in Project Management

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