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All organizations have problems from time to time that they need to solve. They can be employees’ productivity levels, defects in the software, minor issues with the organization’s processes, and more. All these problems often have an underlying core issue that is the root cause of the problem itself. A root cause analysis helps companies manage these issues by dealing with the heart of the problem. In this article, let us explore the root cause analysis template in detail. 

What Is Root Cause Analysis?

Organizations use root cause analysis as a means to find solutions to any problems that they might be facing. It is a set of tools and techniques that companies use to find the main cause of a problem they might have to find the most viable and effective solution to permanently eliminate the problem. 

A root cause analysis can be used as a preventative measure of problem-solving as well. Even if things are going well within the company, it is advisable to regularly conduct a root cause analysis to identify any problems that may arise in the future and eliminate the risk before it results in any actual harm.

Root cause analysis is used in organizations across all industries as it is an effective approach to problem-solving in the long term. A root cause analysis has three main areas of focus: identifying what the problem is itself, finding out the main reason the problem is occurring (the root cause), and what methods and changes the organization can implement to make sure that the problem does not occur again.

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What Is A Root Cause Analysis Template?

There are different frameworks that organizations can use to find out what the main root cause is for any problem. These are root cause analysis templates, which can be easily made following different principles to help companies determine the ‘why’ of any problem they have. They are not methods for finding solutions, though. The root cause analysis templates were created to understand what the main reason or issue is.

The templates use the data gathered about a problem X that a company might be facing and guide the ones conducting the analysis in finding the root cause using the collected data. The templates are relatively easy to understand and maneuver through, although someone with a certification or expertise in risk management and mitigation might be able to get more accurate results. 

There are many samples of templates that take different approaches to find the root cause of a problem, and organizations can choose which one works best for them. Overall, any root cause analysis template follows the same principle and core structure.

  • All root cause analysis templates start with describing the problem the organization is facing
  • Then they focus on understanding what events lead to the issue happening in the first place. This is a more timeline-based step to determine what happened before X (the problem) went wrong
  • The next step involves the team members who participated in the process that had the defect or the ones who used the application that seems to have malfunctioned, or the ones who were working with the X problem
  • Then the involved individuals discuss the methods they generally use to find out what could have gone wrong and analyze them to find out the root cause of the problem X

The team can customize this basic template and core structure of a root cause analysis based on the problem the organization is facing. If the issue is large, there will be an in-depth investigation and analysis process to find the root cause. If the issue being faced is on a smaller scale, the investigation process will typically be shorter and less time-consuming. The investigative team only has to explain the problem, create a list of possible causes for the issue, and create a report on the main cause.

Popular Root Cause Analysis Templates

There are many templates available that companies can use when they want to conduct a root cause analysis. The chosen template the organizations usually go with depends on a few factors such as:

  • The size of the problem
  • The complexity of the problem
  • The type of problem
  • How the template will work with the relevant team that is facing the problem
  • How the template will work with the relevant process, application, or service that is facing the problem

The most widely used root cause templates in organizations are:

  • The DMAIC template for root cause analysis
  • The 5 Whys template for root cause analysis
  • The 8D Report template for root cause analysis
  • The FMEA template for root cause analysis
  • The Pareto chart for root cause analysis

Let’s take a look at each of these templates in brief. 

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DMAIC Template For Root Cause Analysis

The DMAIC template stands for:

  • Define the problem
  • Measure the problem
  • Analyze the problem
  • Improve the problem
  • Control the problem

It is a Six Sigma method extremely effective in solving problems of all sizes and improving processes in general. The main focus is more on analyzing the problem so that the teams can easily quantify it and improve and fix the issues they face with a long-term or permanent solution.

The 5 Whys Template For Root Cause Analysis

The team can apply the 5 Whys template to solve any problem across any industry. It is widely used because of its simplistic nature. The template focuses on finding the root cause of any problem by simply asking the question ‘Why?’ till there is a clear answer. Usually, it does not take more than five turns of asking the Why question till the team finds the root cause, hence the name.

The 8D Report For Root Cause Analysis

The 8D Report is a step-by-step process used to find the underlying cause for any problem. It follows a systematic approach made up of 8 steps to find the root cause in any method that might be malfunctioning. The 8Ds that make up this template are as follows:

  • Developing a team to solve the problem
  • Describing the problem at length
  • Developing a plan to protect the end-user from the problem till there is a permanent solution
  • Discovering the root cause and any additional hidden issues that have gone by unnoticed
  • Developing corrective actions to solve the root cause of the problem and verifying the corrective actions
  • Deploying the corrective actions and measuring them for success
  • Taking preventative measures to ensure the problem does not occur again
  • Giving recognition to the team and individuals on finding the root cause and their problem-solving skills
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FMEA Template For Root Cause Analysis

The FMEA Template is a preventative measure undertaken by organizations to mitigate the problems before they can occur in the first place. The Failure Modes and Effective Analysis template is used to evaluate new and existing applications and processes in the organization thoroughly to understand how well they are functioning.

Pareto Chart Template For Root Cause Analysis

The Pareto Chart helps analyze and prioritize the problems based on different significant factors to rank the problems. It is a bar graph that helps create a visual representation of all the factors involved in the problem. It can only be used once the problem and different possible causes for the problem have been identified.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways in which organizations can conduct a root cause analysis. The preferred method depends on the type of problem they are trying to identify, solve and the processes involved. Working with certified trained professionals who have expertise in risk management and risk analysis can help create a more accurate analysis report and improve the quality of the measures that the organization takes to solve the problem.

In order to adapt to this proven DMAIC methodology to your workflow, Quality Management Certification Courses can be of great help. These certifications get you equipped across quality management frameworks, tools, and techniques so that you achieve success across your projects. 

Some of the popular quality management certification courses that individuals and enterprise teams can take up are:

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Diego Rodriguez works as a Six Sigma Black Belt professional for a leading manufacturing company. He possesses ample experience in various aspects of quality management, such as Lean, Six Sigma, Root Cause Analysis, Design Thinking, and more. His primary focus is to conduct tests and monitor the production phase and also responsible for sorting out the items that fail to meet the quality standards. Diego’s extensive work in the field has resulted in being an honorary member of quality associations globally. His areas of research include knowledge management, quality control, process design, strategic planning, and organizational performance improvement.

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