RCA Articles

Listed below are some of the better Root Cause Analysis articles from my weblog. I'll start the list with what is probably the most popular article on my whole site... the one that's been linked to by many blogs and websites (some run by government agencies), cited by others in several journal articles, presentations, and even discussed in a couple of books. (Not trying to brag here, but it's pretty cool to find such references.)

Five-by-Five Whys

Purpose and Definitions
Processes and Tools
Risk and Significance

Last 5 Posts

Re-Defining the Problem
Today, I saw a definition of Problem that I disliked VERY MUCH. Granted, this was in a [[Root Cause Analysis]] manual, so I expected much complexity. Still, the definition annoyed me. (This might be misquoted slightly, but it captures the gist.) A current behaviour or course of action (by people or equipment) that is producing unexpected, inapp[...]
Top 5 Reasons for Failed Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis is one of the best ways to solve difficult or significant problems, but sometimes, root cause analysis efforts fail because the corrective actions weren't effective. If the original problem happens again, or the needed improvements haven't materialized, or a new problem arises because of the corrective actions, you need to figur[...]
Root Cause Analysis of Microsoft Azure Service Interruption
Microsoft recently experienced a significant interruption of their Azure cloud service. Since a decent amount of data was available for this incident, I decided to do a partial root cause analysis. All of my source data came from Microsoft's official Azure blog post on 2014-Nov-24. I did this primarily to create a sample analysis that could [...]
Followup... System Focused Root Cause Analysis of Complexity
My previous post about root causes in complex systems, in retrospect, looks a little bit like a rant. That doesn't bother me too much, really... but I wish I had included the following info: it is one way to go about resolving the mess that complex systems can make of your [[root cause analysis]]. Basically, when you need to analyze a proble[...]
Systems Thinking, Complexity, and Root Cause
I'm getting so very tired of safety/accident researchers claiming that [[root cause analysis]] is an invalid, blame-focused practice that ignores systems and complexity. Most root cause investigators that I know are pretty well oriented towards process, organization, and system issues as the fundamental sources underlying problems and accidents... [...]

All Earlier Posts

A Little Confession...
Root Cause Analysis Wiki
Cross-Pollination #2
Software as Root Cause
Einstein, Root Cause Guru
Root Cause Checklists
Cross-Pollination #1
Five-by-Five Whys
Human Error
Root Cause Tools
Patterns of Response
RCA Tool Comparison
The BOGUS Test
Four Ignoble Truths

by Bill Wilson
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Bill Wilson © 2004-2020

Last updated: October 10, 2014 at 9:37 am

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