Eliminating Root Causes

Identify the Problem

Look Deeper

  • When, where, and how did the problem arise?
  • What, if anything, changed just before the onset of the problem?
  • Who and what feels the largest impact from the problem?

Follow the Causal Chain

  • What factor leads most directly to the problem?
  • What factors allow the problem to occur?
  • What factors make any contribution — small or large — to the main problem?

Analyze the Linkages

  • Investigating the consequences of adding or subtracting each element from the situation.
  • Tearing the situation apart to isolate the piece of the overall sequence of events that kicks off creation of the problem.
  • Flow charting the overall situation to identify the factors contributing most heavily to the problem.

Reconfigure the Situation

  • Adding more safety- or quality-control checks to catch problems in their earliest stages of development.
  • Changing the sequence so the cause of the problem — and its ability to create problems — is better insulated from the final product.
  • Upgrading whatever element is causing the problem so it becomes far less dangerous to the final product.

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Robert Moskowitz is a successful, award-winning writer and consultant, and the author of “How to Organize Your Work and Your Life.”

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Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz is a successful, award-winning writer and consultant, and the author of “How to Organize Your Work and Your Life.”

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