RCA Articles

Here are some of the best Root Cause Analysis articles from my weblog, sorted into categories.

Purpose and Definitions
Processes and Tools
Risk and Significance

I’m gradually converting all my RCA-related articles from the old site format to this new and improved WordPress-based format. All the articles that have been converted to date (and any new articles) are available from the following page:

Root Cause Analysis category archive

Here are all the old RCA-related articles; some have been converted to the new style, but most have not. Once they’ve all been converted, this list will probably be replaced with something better.

RCA at the AntiSyphus Effect
Kathleen DeFilippo over at The AntiSyphus Effect has written a very nice collection of 10 articles on root cause analysis. I especially like how the articles flow from a logical starting point to a logi… More>>>

Bill, 2007/03/03 11:14

Root Cause Analysis for Human Behaviours, Part 1
Root cause analysis can be characterized in many ways. Some refer to it as a tool for continuous improvement. Others call it a method for finding performance problems. Those at the receiving end, however, often view root cause analysis as just a r… More>>>

Bill, 2006/10/30 07:46

Root Cause Analysis – Art or Science?
There are many commonly held beliefs about root cause analysis that bother me. Perhaps the single most irksome to me is the statement “it’s an art, not a science.” I don’t have anything against art, but I don’t believe that this statemen… More>>>

Bill, 2006/10/10 01:57

Rockin’ New Human Performance Investigation Tool
Most problems and accidents involve human activity at some point or other. Often, this activity is right at the point of occurrence, and people at the sharp end are usually operating under difficult or confusing circum… More>>>

Bill, 2006/03/24 01:16

Optimization Is Not The Goal

Problems come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been involved in all kinds of investigations, from those dealing with something as mundane a chronic lack of hot water in a shower facility, to something as critical as a software error that caused n… More>>>

Bill, 2006/03/12 23:36

Systematic Problem-Solving Sequence

Problems happen all the time. How we choose to respond is a major factor in determining how badly we will be affected by any given problem. I would argue that a systematic response is best, and furthermore, I propose a 9-stage sequence as dis… More>>>

Bill, 2006/02/14 22:42

Cross-Pollination #2
Root cause analysis has a fatal flaw — if you can’t convince people that change is necessary, they will not change.  Too many beautiful reports fail to make even a miniscule change in the course that an organization has already set for itself. Th… More>>>

Bill, 2005/11/14 15:19

Software as Root Cause
Wired News has a nice article on what they consider to be the 10 worst software bugs of all time (so far). I knew about a few of these, notably the Therac-25 fatalities and t… More>>>

Bill, 2005/11/08 12:15

Older news

Einstein, Root Cause Guru
Business Process Management – Solution or Cause?
Root Cause Checklists
Cross-Pollination #1
Root Cause Analysis Resource List
Root Cause Analysis for Complex Systems?
Five-by-Five Whys
Use of Cause Categories in Root Cause Analysis
Human Error
Why-Trees
Root Cause Tools
Readiness to Investigate
Root Cause Roundup – May 2005
Root Cause Analysis Software Demos
Patterns of Response
Interfaces and Contradictions
Models in Root Cause Analysis
Meaning of Root Cause, Part II
Root Cause Analysis – Large or Small Events?
Meaning of Root Cause, Part I
Introduction to Root Cause Analysis
Phases of Root Cause Analysis
The Fortunate Near-Miss Event
RCA Tool Comparison
The BOGUS Test
Airport Terminal Collapse
Event Frequency and Severity
Four Ignoble Truths


Bill Wilson © 2004-2014

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