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)
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.