Posted by: JC Gatlin | February 25, 2010

Identifying the Root Cause

Problems are best solved by correcting or eliminating  the “root cause,” as opposed to merely addressing the immediately obvious symptom.  By taking systematic steps to get to the root cause of a problem, the trouble shooter should be able to avoid assumptions and logic traps to keep the problem from recurring in the future.

Identifying the Right Root Cause

Step 1.

The Root Cause is the final WHY on the leg of a fishbone. If you worked the fishbone accurately,  you should have many potential root causes. Don’t fall into the trap of just “picking” one and don’t allow the counter measure you really want to implement to so completely influence your decision making that you become blind to other real possible root causes. 

Step 2.

The right Root Cause will have a corresponding counter measure that can be implemented, controlled or monitored within the home builder work zone. Therefore, it must be from the home builder Teammate or Team Member perspective. It cannot be from a homeowner perspective or an environmental factor.  You will never be able to implement a counter measure to control these factors.

Step 3.

A root cause that stems from the actions or process of a Building or Market Partner must be within the  home builder work zone.  The Building or Market Partner must be included in the PDCA process and agree to the counter measure to balance out the action.

Three Critical Questions

When selecting a root cause, ask the following questions:

  1. “If this possible cause was removed or changed, would the problem have never occurred?” If the potential still exists for the problem to occur, you have probably identified another symptom of the problem – and not the root cause.
  2. “If this possible cause is removed or changed, can the initial problem recur  3 months , 6 months, 1 year from now?” If so,  go back to your Fishbone Analysis and ask more Whys.
  3. “If this possible cause is removed or changed, will it create a new set of problems, complicate the process or add waste somewhere else?” Do your homework and understand the big picture.  The actions from a PDCA will affect other people or positions; fully understand this before even considering a counter measure.

© February 2010 Homebuilding Partners, Inc.   twitter-logo

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Responses

  1. […] Identifying the Root Cause dal blog Lean Homebuilding di J.C. Gatlin: Come identificare la causa all’origine del problema (traduzione automatica) […]

  2. […] Identifying the Root Cause by JC Gatlin – “By taking systematic steps to get to the root cause of a problem, the trouble shooter should be able to avoid assumptions and logic traps to keep the problem from recurring in the future.” […]

  3. […] Counter Measure is an action that corrects or “counter acts” the Root Cause creating the problem. Counter Measures bring balance to an out of balance process, but they are not […]

  4. […] Identifying the Root Cause by JC Gatlin – “By taking systematic steps to get to the root cause of a problem, the trouble shooter should be able to avoid assumptions and logic traps to keep the problem from recurring in the future.” […]

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