Making Sense of Root Cause Analysis

[article]

Summary
To effectively apply RCA in your organization:

    • Make RCA a formal, budgeted activity
    • Avoid scapegoating
    • Involve the people who made the original error
    • Do RCA on groups of failures, looking for common causes
    • Understand both temporal delay and causality (linkage of cause to significance of the failure)

 

Side Note:
Typically we use the terms error, fault, defect, and failure in sequence to correctly describe what happens. A person makes an error which introduces a fault in the product. This fault results in a defect when the program executes, which may or may not result in a failure visible to the user. Casual writing quite often uses the terms bug or defect to mean all four. Usually context will tell you which is which, and, hopefully, I (hopefully) was consistent in this article.

About the author

Ed Weller's picture Ed Weller

Ed Weller is an SEI certified High Maturity Appraiser for CMMI® appraisals, with nearly forty years of experience in hardware and software engineering. Ed is the principal of Integrated Productivity Solutions, a consulting firm that is focused on providing solutions to companies seeking to improve their development productivity. Ed is a regular columnist on StickyMinds.com and can be contacted at edwardfwelleriii@msn.com.

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