Introduction to Root Cause Analysis

There's a lot of information on Root Cause Analysis available on the web. Unfortunately, if you're a beginner, finding useful, easy-to-use information can be difficult. That's why I've put together this list of 4 useful web resources for an Introduction to Root Cause Analysis.

If you're a beginner or just looking for something a little more comprehensive, check out my RCA Article Guide -- it's sort of like a free root cause analysis training manual or book. It will bring you back to this article eventually.

Note: the first three links point to PDF documents. (Links updated/verified 22-Sep-2014.)

  • Root Cause Analysis for Beginners - Article from the July 2004 issue of Quality Progress, provides an overview of the purpose and justification for Root Cause Analysis, and demonstrates application.
  • Events and Causal Factors Analysis - Detailed guidance on the Event and Causal Factor method for event sequencing. Provides charting symbol standards and tips for application.
  • Control of Change Cause Analysis - Manual for performing "3CA" analysis of root causes, which seeks to identify changes that could have been controlled, or where controls failed.
  • Root Cause Live - Community site for users and providers of performance improvement, failure analysis, and incident investigation services. Non-proprietary and non-industry-specific.

Some care and thought has gone into compiling this list -- for instance, the first 3 resources describe analysis tools that are designed to be used together, and also provide worked examples. The last one is the best overall source of Root Cause Analysis information (and expertise) that I have been able to find on the web.

I hope you'll find this list of resources useful. You can find more information at my RCA Resources page. Also, if you're interested in specific tools, please check out my page on RCA Tools. If you have any questions or suggestions about any of the links I've recommended, please feel free to leave a comment.

by Bill Wilson
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Last updated: November 20, 2014 at 12:56 pm

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