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Topics: Requirements Management, Teams
Should we do root cause analyses?
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We often read and hear that we should not rehash the past but rather focus on the solution or the future.

How do you balance this perspective with a technique such as root cause analysis, where the focus is truly on what happened?
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Root Cause falls in with Lesson Learned IMO.

Its not about rehashing any failures, but understanding what we can learn from a problem that caused us impact. Positive learning are gained from these processes, so I would always suggest follow up investigation, format based on the scale of the issue (email suggestions right through to formal review meeting with actions and plans to move forward).
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Dear Stéphane
Interesting your question
Thanks for sharing

The important thing is the present and the future although we can learn from the past.

That said (written this), root cause analysis allows you to identify, as the name implies, the root cause of problems by grouping these causes into 4 broad categories (I've read and heard proposals to create other categories)
Once the causes of the problems have been identified we can work on their resolution.
If this analysis and problem-solving solution incorporate project knowledge (formerly termed lessons learned) can serve as a reference for future problem-solving
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Without reviewing what happened in the past and taking those lessons learned into consideration, I am not sure how you can build a future effective solution ? You always need to inspect and adapt. Part of doing that is analyzing the past.
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Stéphane -

RCA is crucial if we want to shift from fixing problems to preventing them. The outcome of RCA should be a future-focused solution so I'd view it as a Janus technique :-)

Kiron
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1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Nov 15, 2019 2:28 PM
Stéphane Parent
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Isn't JANUS focused on human error reduction? There might be more to the root cause than human error.
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RCCA is an element of risk management. Determining the root cause helps us to manage the potential for a future occurrence. On the risk matrix, we have probability and impact. The higher the probability of recurrence and the greater the impact if it does, the more motivation we have to identify the root cause and perform corrective actions preventing recurrence.
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Conducting RCA permits understanding of the precipitating event that led to the failure. The PM can use this information in his/her analysis of risks on future projects, thus reducing or eliminating a similar cause and preventing certain problems from occurring.
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Interesting! Everyone seems to say we need to spend time to figure out the exact cause. This runs counter to popular contemporary wisdom that states why something went wrong is less important than where we go from here.I'm sure there is a happy medium in there.
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2 replies by John Reeder and Keith Novak
Nov 15, 2019 5:56 PM
John Reeder
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If we don't know how we went wrong in one project, then we are likely to repeat the same error in another project, aren't we?
Nov 15, 2019 6:28 PM
Keith Novak
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Some problems happen under unique circumstances and we can be fairly sure they won't occur again. When they occur in the course of normal everyday business, if we don't investigate how they happened, how can we say they won't keep happening?
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Nov 15, 2019 10:25 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Stéphane -

RCA is crucial if we want to shift from fixing problems to preventing them. The outcome of RCA should be a future-focused solution so I'd view it as a Janus technique :-)

Kiron
Isn't JANUS focused on human error reduction? There might be more to the root cause than human error.
...
1 reply by Kiron Bondale
Nov 15, 2019 5:39 PM
Kiron Bondale
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;-)

I meant Janus, the God who looks in two directions (the past and the future)...
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Nov 15, 2019 2:28 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
Isn't JANUS focused on human error reduction? There might be more to the root cause than human error.
;-)

I meant Janus, the God who looks in two directions (the past and the future)...
Network:15



Nov 15, 2019 2:25 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
Interesting! Everyone seems to say we need to spend time to figure out the exact cause. This runs counter to popular contemporary wisdom that states why something went wrong is less important than where we go from here.I'm sure there is a happy medium in there.
If we don't know how we went wrong in one project, then we are likely to repeat the same error in another project, aren't we?
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