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How do you use a root cause analysis form?

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Quick Answer

Use the root cause analysis form to outline and document the steps necessary to avoid recurrence of an event or problem. These steps include describing the problem, determining what happened and why by investigating the situation to identify the root causes, and implementing and monitoring an action plan to address them, thereby solving the problem. When using the root cause analysis format, describe the problem concisely, providing details regarding the date and time of the event.

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This description should include who detected the problem, whom the problem affected and how. A detailed chronology of events leading up to and following the problem is a crucial aspect of the root cause analysis as it may provide clues as to why and how the problem happened. The event timeline needs to include names, times and details of all related activities before and after the problem. The next step in a root cause analysis is to identify the investigative team, the selection process used to determine the team members and how the team plans to gather data, delineating clear roles and data collection methodologies. Findings of the team and their identification of root causes based on the findings are the next step in the root cause analysis process. The final steps are identifying and implementing a plan to correct the problem and avoid future occurrences and describing the monitoring of the plan.

The acronym DMAIC identifies the steps of the root cause analysis, which includes both narrative and graphic representations on most root cause analysis forms. It refers to defining the problem, measuring the problem, analyzing data to arrive at a corrective action plan, implementing the plan, and controlling and monitoring the plan.

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