Category: Software Updates

Root Cause Analysis Tip: What Can Go Inside the Event Shape when Mapping out your SnapCharT®?

December 14th, 2011 by

Whether doing it by hand or in our TapRooT® Software, what can go into the Rectangles that we call Events (Who did whats or what did whats that occurred during the timeline that you are investigating)?



Who s:

Actions by the Operator, Mechanic, Manager, Vendor, Supplier, Contractor, Technician, Customer Service Rep, Engineer, Designer, Nurse, Doctor … as you can see the list is unlimited but understanding the who (we use job titles only) helps us to see if the who was setup for success prior or during the action he/she performed.


Caution ( … this may not be what you expected or have been doing)

Equipment Actions: Relay opened when energized, Butterfly valve stuck shut, I.V. bag port become blocked with debris, fuel gravity fed into container through piping …

Hint: If working with equipment, pull up the equipment and system functional diagram up immediately to help you map out the Events.

Chemical Process Actions: Catalysts heated up, hot mix heated up …

Transactional Process: Purchased order received by customer service, SAP sent late warning to warranty …

Hint: Yes, you can follow a piece a paper, hazardous material shipment.. that is handed off from person to person just like you would a person.

Hopefully, this should open up your investigation options even more! By the way, I even mapped out the actions of a horse and a monkey which was analayzed under Human Engineering.

Root Cause Analysis Tip: Add Color to your SnapCharT® in v5 Easily

July 6th, 2011 by
Users in the new v5 application can easily add color to every shape on their SnapCharT® by following these simple steps:
  1. Open the investigation or audit you are working on by highlighting it in the My Documents section of the User Landing Page and selecting OPEN.

    User Landing Page

  2. Through the 7-Step Process Menu select OPEN for the investigation you are working on under Manage Documents by any SnapCharT® step. Then selecting NEW on the Associated Documents Screen.

    Manage Documents - 7-Step

    New SnapCharT®

  3. Add a shape to the chart by selecting the proper shape under Create Chart and then double clicking in the editor.
  4. With the shape selected, select the Shape Color drop-down and select the desired color, and select OK.

    Shape Color Pick Screen

  5. While the shape is selected, click inside the shape once the color is added (this ensures the shape is selected).
  6. Simply hit CTRL-V and you will be able to duplicate that shape with colors. Do this multiple times to add as many shapes as you like.
  7. Repeat this process for other shapes as added.
  8. Move shapes where needed and add text using the Text editor at the top center.
This process can be used when creating a SnapCharT® Template as well. Here is a link to that article:
Get the most from your software! Here are three ways:
1. Customize your 2012 Summit schedule and add the best practice session “What’s New In TapRooT® Software”.
2. Sign up for the 2012 Summit track, TapRooT® Software Super Users/Administrators.
3. Register for the exclusive Pre-Summit Course, Getting the Most from Your TapRooT® Software.
Ed Skompski is a Partner and Vice President of System Improvements, Inc.

TapRooT® Enterprise Version: Software Upgrade

May 16th, 2011 by

We’re pleased to announce our latest update to the TapRooT® Web Enterprise Software, which has some great features that improve navigation and make you more effective.

Version includes the following new features:

  1. Spell Check
  2. Custom Spell Check Dictionary
  3. 24 Hour Time Setting
  4. Various Bug Fixes

And in case you missed Version, its features are also included in

  1. Two Updated Corrective Action Reports
  2. Configurable Email Notifications
  3. Window Resizing for the whole application, including SnapCharT®
  4. Batch Import/Export Interface to communicate with Incident Management System via a flat data file using a Windows Service
  5. Assorted Bug Fixes
  6. Button and Navigation Changes including:
  7. ‘CLOSE’ Buttons on all 7 TapRooT® Techniques now redirect you to the 7 Step Process page
  8. ‘CLOSE’ Buttons on all 7 TapRooT® Techniques have new save validations
  9. ‘7 Steps’ and ‘Reports’ Buttons have new save validations
  10. Reorganization of ‘New’ and ‘Delete’ Buttons on the Investigation Editor, 7 Step Process, and Document Management pages

If you’re a licensed software user and your Annual Maintenance Fee is up to date, this upgrade is included in your fee. Just contact to get it.

If you’re not up to date with your Annual Maintenance Fee, you can contact to bring yourself current and receive your upgrade.

Here’s how these features make your investigation more efficient:

  1. Spell Check – Spend less time proofreading your report, prevent typographical errors that may cause confusion, and complete your investigation reporting more quickly and efficiently. You can also add your company’s own brands and words to Spell Check’s Dictionary for added convenience.
  2. Navigation and Button Changes – Versions prior to take you back to the Quick Launch Menu whenever you closed one of the 7 techniques. They now take you back to the 7 Step Process page when you press the ‘CLOSE’ button so you can move on to your subsequent step. This convenience gets your report done faster. With new save validations, be absolutely sure your information is saved, removing the need for data re-entry and possible information loss.
  3. Window Resizing – In the Enterprise Version, you can also now expand the SnapCharT® window to fully match your screen resolution. This gives you more work area to quickly and effectively create your SnapCharT®s.
  4. 24-Hour Time Setting – Eliminate confusion between am/pm event times, making your report more accurate.
  5. E-mail Notifications – The TapRooT® Software provides consistent, well-structured, and professional communication to all employees involved. The TapRooT® Software allows you to quickly and easily communicate responsibilities to the appropriate individuals, so nothing falls through the cracks and your corrective actions are carried out exactly as planned.
  6. Batch Import – In the Enterprise Version, you can transfer information from your own incident investigation software without wasting valuable investigation time re-typing it. Import your information directly, avoiding typographical errors or varying word choice that may cause confusion.
  7. Updated Corrective Action Reports – The updated matrix-style format is easier to read, allowing you to communicate corrective actions clearly to employees and management alike.

These Updates to the TapRooT® Web Enterprise Software allow you to conduct an efficient investigation, create accurate reports, and present a professional presentation to management regarding the investigation.

Contact or to purchase your upgrade.

TapRooT® Single User Version: Software Upgrade

May 16th, 2011 by

We’re pleased to announce our latest update to our TapRooT® Single User Software, which has some great features that improve navigation and make you more effective.

Version includes the following new features:

  1. Spell Check
  2. Custom Spell Check Dictionary
  3. 24 Hour Time Setting
  4. Two Updated Corrective Action Reports
  5. Window Resizing for SnapCharT®
  6. Assorted Bug Fixes
  7. Button and Navigation Changes including:
  8. ‘CLOSE’ Buttons on all 7 TapRooT® Techniques now redirect you to the 7 Step Process page
  9. ‘CLOSE’ Buttons on all 7 TapRooT® Techniques have new save validations
  10. ‘7 Steps’ and ‘Reports’ Buttons have new save validations
  11. Reorganization of ‘New’ and ‘Delete’ Buttons on the Investigation Editor, 7 Step Process, and Document Management pages

If you are within your one-year agreement, you are entitles to a free upgrade. Contact for more information.

If you have a previous version of the software but your one-year agreement has expired, you can purchase the Upgrade and 1 year of Technical Support for only $395, which includes all upgrades and hot fixes during that year.

Visit our Store to purchase the upgrade.

Here’s how these features make your investigation more efficient:

  1. Spell Check – Spend less time proofreading your report, prevent typographical errors that may cause confusion, and complete your investigation reporting more quickly and efficiently. You can also add your company’s own brands and words to Spell Check’s Dictionary for added convenience.
  2. Navigation and Button Changes – Versions prior to take you back to the Quick Launch Menu whenever you closed one of the 7 techniques. They now take you back to the 7 Step Process page when you press the ‘CLOSE’ button so you can move on to your subsequent step. This convenience gets your report done faster. With new save validations, be absolutely sure your information is saved, removing the need for data re-entry and possible information loss.
  3. Window Resizing – Now you can expand the SnapCharT® window to fully match your screen resolution. This gives you more work area to quickly and effectively create your SnapCharT®s.
  4. Batch Import – In the Enterprise Version, you can transfer information from your own incident investigation software without wasting valuable investigation time re-typing it. Import your information directly, avoiding typographical errors or varying word choice that may cause confusion.
  5. Updated Corrective Action Reports – The updated matrix-style format is easier to read, allowing you to communicate corrective actions clearly to employees and management alike.

These Updates to the TapRooT® Single User Software allow you to conduct an efficient investigation, create accurate reports, and present a professional presentation to management regarding the investigation.

Interested in these upgrades? Visit our Store to purchase.

Don’t own the software yet? Click here to purchase.

Time To Upgrade To Version 5 TapRooT® Software

March 24th, 2011 by

Originally posted March 4, 2011

Microsoft® has released Windows 7 Service Pack 1 which does not allow installation of MSDE.  MSDE is the critical database component of the TapRooT® Version 4 Software (last revision 4.0.6). That means that people using TapRooT® Software Version 4 who want to used Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or later need to upgrade to Version 5 of the TapRooT® Software.

Version 4.0.6, which was released in 2005, was released for the Windows XP operating system.  Over the past few years our technical support associates have been helping clients force installations in Windows Vista and Windows 7.  It looks like that practice will be coming to an end with this latest news.

In addition, since MSDE is no longer being supported or allowed by Microsoft, we have no choice but to discontinue support for Version 4 of the TapRooT® Software which has been replaced by Version 5.

What this means to you….

  • If you are a LICENSED SOFTWARE USER using VERSION 5, have no fear!  The Version 5 software is continuously updated to stay compatible with the latest Microsoft® technologies.  You will continue to receive support and upgrades and HotFixes as long as you maintain your license.
  • If you are a LICENSED SOFTWARE USER using VERSION 4,  you need to plan your upgrade to Version 5  as soon as possible!  If your license is in good standing, you are entitled to this upgrade FREE of charge.
  • If you have an EXPIRED LICENSE, you will need to update your license to get upgraded to Version 5.

For more information on the TapRooT® Software products click here

If TapRooT® Version 4 Software Users have any questions about upgrading to Version 5, please contact us at CLICKING HERE.

Root Cause Analysis Software Provides Central Hub for Investigation Process

February 15th, 2011 by

Root Cause Analysis Software Offers Scalable Solution for Large Enterprises, Small Businesses and Individual Investigators. New Interface Helps Investigators Transition Easily From Root Cause Analysis Training to On-The-Job Use.

Knoxville, TN (PRWEB) January 30, 2011

System Improvements, Inc., a global leader in advanced root cause analysis, today announced the release of Version 5 of the patented TapRooT® v Software. This new release provides safety and quality investigators, reliability and maintenance engineers, and healthcare professionals a flagship solution for creating a central hub for the investigation process. The TapRooT® Software is designed to streamline and organize an incident investigation process for dynamic results. The software combines incident identification, analysis, and report writing into one seamless process.

Investigation and audit findings are easily edited and communicated through user-friendly report features of this software. Users can distribute meaningful data securely by exporting the reports directly to Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Excel.

“The TapRooT® Software is a scalable solution that can be used systemically by large enterprises, small businesses, or even individual investigators,” said Dan Verlinde, Director of Information Technology & Software Development. “It can work as a stand-alone solution, or integrate with your existing incident management systems and practices. What sets our software solutions apart is that we have built around the proven and patented TapRooT® process for investigating and performing root cause analysis, and made a software that is an integral tool in this process.”

Trusted by Leaders

TapRooT® System and Software is used worldwide by clients including Alstom, Novartis, Exelon, Vestas, ConocoPhillips, Rio Tinto, Chevron, Barrick Gold, the Military Healthcare Command, Saudi Aramco, ExxonMobil, and Fluor (among many others) to investigate problems and improve performance.

Easy-to-Use Technology

The new interface will help companies and users easily transition from TapRooT® root cause analysis training to practical on-the-job software use. The TapRooT® v5 Software will walk you through the 7 step process for investigations and audits including: logging your investigation data; mapping your sequence of events; developing corrective actions; and generating reports.

About System Improvements, Inc.

Mark Paradies is founder and President of System Improvements, Inc. and has over 30 years of experience operating, managing and improving high reliability systems. Linda Unger is Vice President of System Improvements, co-developer of the TapRooT® System and helps clients integrate TapRooT® into their performance improvement processes by developing implementation strategies.

System Improvements has 40+ highly skilled instructors/investigators/facilitators who teach public and onsite TapRooT® Courses globally and provide on-site consulting. Companies around the world have used the TapRooT® system to help people investigate accidents, incidents, quality problems, equipment failures, schedule delays, cost overruns, hospital sentinel events, and many other types of problems. TapRooT® is also used to improve the effectiveness of audits, observations, and self-assessments in proactive improvement efforts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on the TapRooT® Software products click here.

Software Versions

December 3rd, 2010 by

As you may or may not know, System Improvements has really ramped up our software release schedule in the last 48 months.  We are averaging two major releases a year during that time frame, and we have also deployed HotFix releases between our major releases.  HotFix releases are not full installations, but minor updates that fix bugs or issues reported to us from our users.

In order for you to get the maximum benefit from our software, you will want to stay current with ALL our updates.  For licensed companies, that means maintaining your Annual Maintenance agreement which entitles you to all upgrades and HotFixes.  Our licensing department will notify you whenever new upgrades or HotFixes are released.

For people who utilize our Single User software on their laptops, you may already be entitled to FREE upgrades as part of a current Software License agreement, or you may be able to renew your Single User Software License agreement to receive the upgrades at a discounted rate.  Check out for more information on the Single User Software License Renewal.

Our most recent software releases are:

TapRooT® Web Enterprise Software Version (HotFix 4)

TapRooT® Single User Software Version (HotFix 2)

Both allow the ability to upgrade data from the Version 4.0.6 Software!

Contact us at for more information.

What’s New In The TapRooT® Software?

November 4th, 2010 by

I have received several requests from our San Antonio Summit attendees for a copy of our ‘What’s New In The TapRooT® Software?” breakout session.  So without further ado, here it is…Click Here

Updated Feature in v5 SnapCharT®

September 24th, 2010 by

In v5 we have enhanced both the Link and Comment features in SnapCharT®.  When working in a SnapCharT one of the most important things for an investigator to do is to document, provide as much data as possible to understand “What” happened to be able to identify causal factors and good root causes. In the new SnapCharT tool found in the v5 application this is possible by using our new “Attach” function.  This allows the user to attach multiple documents and pictures directly to shapes on the SnapCharT. This allows the investigation team to immediately access pertinent information that describes a step or process.

First to get to a new SnapCharT for an audit or an investigation, Highlight the investigation and select OPEN on the User Landing Page, this will take the user to the 7-Step Process Flow.

From the appropriate step, select the NEW button next to SnapCharT, this will open the SnapCharT Editor.  Place a shape on the chart, and with the shape selected choose the ATTACH button. This will allow the user to select the file to attach to this particular shape. Word documents, Excel documents, PowerPoint document, pictures, any file the user has that helps describe that action (or condition) can be attached.

Once the file is selected, a “document tag” can be found in the lower right corner of the shape. If multiple documents are attached, multiple tags will be seen. To open the documents that are attached, simply double-click on the document and it will be opened for immediate viewing or editing.

This feature expands the old v4 “Comment” function by allowing full documents to be attached and expands the v4 “Linking” function by allowing multiple documents to be attached to a single shape and by copying the document to the database. This insures that in any situation the document link will not be broken if the original file is deleted or moved.

Root Cause Analysis Tip: Attend a 1-Day Software Course!

August 6th, 2010 by

What better way to learn and become proficient at using the new version 5 TapRooT® software than to attend a 1-Day Software Course?  We have developed this course as an optional supplement to the normal TapRooT® courses, giving the students a chance to learn the ins and outs of the software tool.  The course can concentrate on either the Single-User software, or (for our licensed clients) we can use your Enterprise installation to show you how to customize the global reporting and networking functions of the software to make your investigation process much more user-friendly.

Planning on holding a 2-Day TapRooT® Course?  You can easily add the additional software day that is dedicated to working through examples, using the software to hone your newly-acquired root cause analysis skills. 

Want to sharpen the skills of your already-trained TapRooT® investigators?  We can teach the course as a stand-alone software introduction, with examples of how the new software can help make your investigations run more smoothly and efficiently.

Contact us at for more information on our version 5 TapRooT® Software courses!

Have you seen the fantastic Version 5 TapRooT® Software?

February 18th, 2010 by

I thought I’d give everyone a peek at what we can all expect to see at TapRooT® Courses in the near future.  The screenshots I’m showing you are what is available RIGHT NOW in the Enterprise version 5.1.4 of the TapRooT® network software.

The software is based on Internet Explorer, so you can see how we’ve progressed to state-of-the-art web-based tools.
This is the landing page:

This screen is customized for each user.  It will show you all of YOUR investigations (those on which you are a Team Leader or a Team Member).  Everyone’s landing page will be slightly different, showing only those investigations that you are working on.

Once you start the investigation, the software will guide you through the 7-Step TapRooT® process.  The main page you’ll use for each investigation looks like this:

This page allows you to view any techniques you’ve been using in this investigation, and allow you to start a new technique with the click of a button.  Everything flows from the 7-Step Process.

Need a SnapCharT®?  It will look like this:

The SnapCharT® uses a simple interface that provides an intuitive, easy-to-use working environment.  It provides you with a large, unrestricted whiteboard, expanding to the number of pages you need.  There’s also a great navigation tool built in to help you move around in those larger, more complex charts.

Once you’ve identified Casual Factors, the software automatically generates a blank Root Cause Tree®, ready for you to begin your analysis:

And Corrective Action development is just a click away on the 7-Step Process Flow:

You can also use some new trending tools, like this Root Cause Distribution report that tells you what Root Causes you’ve identified during your investigations:

For the Enterprise Software users, check with your IT department and see if you have been upgraded to version 5.1.4.  This is the latest version, incorporating the features shown above.  For the rest of us, keep a look-out here on the website for anouncements concerning the up-coming release of the software for individual users!

Trending with the TapRooT® V5 Software

October 30th, 2009 by

“Trending with the TapRooT® V5 Software” was a 2009 TapRooT® Summit best practice session presented by Ed Skompski and Christopher Vallee.

Trending with the TapRooT® V5 Software

What’s New in the TapRooT® V5 Software

October 19th, 2009 by

Did you miss “What’s New in the TapRooT® V5 Software” with Dan Verlinde at the 2009 TapRooT® Summit? Here are some notes!

What’s New in the TapRooT V. 5 Software

Installing TapRooT® on a Netbook Computer

October 15th, 2009 by

“Installing TapRooT® on a Netbook Computer” is an article submitted by Steve Raycraft, our Technical Support Rep. Thanks, Steve!

Use This Procedure If …

– You want to install the TapRooT® System Software on your netbook computer.

Step-by-Step Instructions

The default resolution for most netbook computers is 1024×600 and as a result, you will get the following error when you try to open the TapRooT® software:


The way to resolve this issue is to force your computer to use the resolution of 1024×768. Here are the steps to do that:

1. Right-click on your desktop and select Properties to display your Desktop Properties.

2. Go to the Settings tab and press the ADVANCED button to bring up the Adaptor and Monitor Properties window.

3. Select the Monitor tab and uncheck the box ‘Hide modes that this monitor cannot display’ and press OK.


4. You can now go to the Settings tab and change the resolution to 1024×768. Keep in mind, you will need to scroll to see your entire screen after changing the resolution.

5. Double-click on the TapRooT® System Software icon and the software will now open.

Are You a TapRooT® Software Super User?

August 25th, 2009 by

Ed Skompski, Vice President of System Improvements, invites all of our software users to achieve super user status at the 2009 TapRooT® Summit. Late breaking news on management, setup and maintenance of the new TapRooT® V5 Software is just one of many reasons you can’t afford to miss this week!

SnapCharT® Best Practices

July 22nd, 2009 by

We are jumping back over to the technical side of things for this weeks Root Cause Analysis Blog.

How often have you been working on a SnapCharT and had it crash on you?

Frustrating I know!  Here are some Best Practices that will hopefully prevent these errors from occurring:

– Place objects on the chart before drawing connecting lines

– Avoid special characters such as @, #, &

– Avoid using single or double quotes

– Keep SnapcharTs to 8 pages or less

– Close and Save the SnapCharT on a frequent basis

In the old stand-alone SnapCharT software, many users used the safeguard buttons but we found they could cause a chart to become corrupt so they were removed in the latest version of the SnapCharT tool.

In it’s most simplistic form, Safeguards are rectangles with additional graphical elements.  When looking at a Safeguard symbol, the first thing you notice is its’ color.  You can recreate the same effect by creating a rectangle, use the color palette to color the shape, and resize it according to your needs.  Using this technique will make your SnapCharTs safer. 

Let’s go through an example:

This chart used the old “broken” Safeguard bracket. We do not want to use these symbols. Instead, try this:

By creating a rectangle chart object and simply resizing it, I can then select that object and using the color picker (as shown) I can create a “red” (or “bad/broken”) Safeguard—all without endangering the integrity of the chart itself.

 Hopefully these tips will help you with future charts.  If you have a questions, feel free to email me at

Root Cause Analysis Tips: Play Ball!

April 1st, 2009 by







The System Improvements softball team kicked off its inaugural season Tuesday night with a 15-0 victory.  The victory came after the mercy rule was invoked after 4 innings of play.

The performance was a collaborative team effort with notable highlights provided by Sarah H. and Andy C. hitting back to back home runs in the third inning, and Jason H. pitching a shutout (a rare accomplishment in slow-pitch softball).

The shutout was aided by solid defense, with no fielding errors to report.  This of course made me VERY happy given that this is a TapRooT® sponsored team, and I am told that all errors may require a full incident investigation.




Am I filling out the roster or drawing a Spring SnapCharT®? You decide.






While that last part might be a joke, it does provoke some interesting questions.  While I am sure many of you read this blog for the latest information on how the System Improvements softball team is performing, I am sure MANY MORE of you read it to stay informed and up-to-date on incident investigation and root cause analysis.

Investigators need to keep their brains trained on how to perform investigations even when (hopefully) there are no incidents to investigate!  We need to be vigilant and proactive in sharpening our skills and polishing our abilities.

Does that mean that sometimes we view ordinary occurrences outside our workplace through Investigator’s goggles?  Yes, it probably does.  After all, we have conditioned ourselves to investigate, isolate and ultimately fix problems.  Whether it is a car accident, a broken refrigerator, or an error in a softball game, we probably all are guilty of taking our work home with us.

So to illustrate the point, take a look at a hypothetical softball game error (double click on image to view larger)…





The interesting thing here is that we isolated TWO causal factors (problems) in this scenario.  An official softball scorer would record this as a throwing error by the shortstop (E6).  The official scorer would have been only partially right; the shortstop did commit an error.  But how can we fix that?  Discipline the shortstop (bench him)?  Perform more training (practice)?

No shortstop, at any level of play, is error-proof.  Just like any human error, we cannot eliminate it entirely no matter what we try.   This is why there should have been a safeguard in place.  The Right Center Fielder should have been backing up the throw to second, but was out of position causing the ball to roll to the fence.

Keep in mind that when we look for causal factors we aren’t just looking for direct causes, but also things that can significantly reduce the severity of the incident.  In this case, if the Right Center Fielder was in position to back up the Shortstop’s throw, then the base runner would not have scored (thus reducing the severity of the error and preventing a run from scoring).

Softball, like investigations, requires a team effort and every participant needs to be in position and doing their job on every play.  Any good manager (or investigator) will tell you that these safeguards are what can make a good team, a great team.

To obtain more information on TapRooT® Web Enterprise Software Version 5.1.2 BETA used to create the above SnapCharT®,  email us at

Have a story on how you have used TapRooT® outside of work?  Let us know in the comments.

To see how happy a team looks after winning their first game, see below


TapRooT® Summit – Building your Business Case

March 13th, 2009 by

TapRooT® Software Super-User/Administration Track

If you have been using TapRooT® for awhile and/or you are your company’s administrator, you will want to keep up with the latest in software updates.  The summit is the best time to do that, and also get some valuable use tips.  This also is your opportunity for plenty of face time with our technology team.  We know you’ll have to justify your attendance to your organization, so I wanted to share some information on the track best practice sessions so you can see the value:

• Your first session will be “A TapRooT® V5 Software User’s Forum,” facilitated by Dan Verlinde and Evan Erwin. This session will allow users an opportunity to give feedback, ask questions, and gather knowledge on TapRooT® software technical support, including the technical support knowledge base, the software download site, technical support topics, and contacting technical support.  We’ll also gather feedback from users on V5 and answer questions about future products (Web or General design).

• Dan Verlinde will lead “TapRooT® V5 Enterprise Software Configuration & Implementation.” This session will cover a range of topics System Administrators and Super-Users will need to address after installing the TapRooT® V5 Software.

• You’ll get the latest information on software from Dan Verlinde, Ed Skompski, and Linda Unger in the session “What’s New in The TapRooT® V5 Software.“ 

• In the “TapRooT® User Best Practice Sharing Forum,” Linda Unger and Michelle Lindsay will facilitate a user discussion so everyone can learn from each other.  Two heads are better than one, so bring your best practices to share with the group.

• Dan Verlinde and Ed Skompski will present “Managing Incidents & Corrective Actions Using the TapRooT® Software,” covering corrective actions, Corrective Action Helper, and corrective action status in the TapRooT® V5 Software, including user management of investigations/documents and corrective action management.

“Trending Using the TapRooT® Software” will be presented by Ed Skompski, Dan Verlinde, and Chris Vallee.  This session will cover how to use your data for trending purposes in the TapRooT® V5 Software, including corrective action status reports, root cause reports, the search function, and defining trending needs going forward.

• Dan Verlinde will also address “What TapRooT® V5 Software Super-Users Need to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask).”  He will cover Super-Users’ experience implementing the TapRooT® V5 Software and how they met their businesses needs, including user groups, list hierarchies, custom details fields, and reporting.

• In the session “Making Your Investigation Team a TapRooT® V5 Users Group,” Ed Skompski and Dan Verlinde will cover how an investigation team can collaborate to use the TapRooT® V5 Software including defining user group security needs, sharing data access using team member security, assigning responsibility for corrective actions, and handling non-software user participation in investigation.


Ed, Evan, and Dan

After these sessions, you should be well prepared to lead your teams in using the software to its fullest.  You will be a true Super-User!  But WAIT!  There is MORE:

You’ll meet in the morning and afternoon with attendees from all tracks to hear the keynote speakers:

Dr. Joel Fish, Brian Tink, and Jim Thompson will talk about how just one root cause analysis changed an industry practice.

E.D. Hill from Fox News will talk about “Lessons Learned from Success.”

Mike Kelley will deliver an empowering talk called “Establishing a Culture that Promotes Super-Performance” where he will discuss his view that personal and professional growth are tied together and how they ultimately add to the success of the organization.

Mark Paradies, our President, and Dave Prewitt will present thoughts on systematic ways to manage performance.

• Best selling author John Miller will open the day on Friday with a powerful talk on personal accountability.

These keynote talks provide a good balance of usable techniques, personal improvement, and motivation, and alone are easily worth the cost of the summit!  How much would it cost to hire just one of these amazing speakers?

And by the way, there is one more thing – the last session you attend will be “Planning Your Improvements” where TapRooT® Instructors will facilitate attendees in developing action plans for when you return.  The difference in success and failure can come down to one simple process; setting goals and following through to achieve them.

Keep Current!  Tell your management that you want to attend the Software Super-User/Administration Track at the 2009 Summit.  Write down the value to you of each of these sessions, and decide how much the summit is worth to you.  I think you’ll agree, much more than the cost ($995).

Don’t forget our guarantee:  Attend the Summit and go back to work and use what you’ve learned.  If you don’t get at least 10 times the return on your investment, simply return the Summit materials and we’ll refund the entire fee.

P.S. – I would be remiss if I did not mention that it is also a great idea to come two days early and attend a two-day course at a cost of $1895 for a course and the summit (a $200 discount).

See the list of two-day pre-summit courses here:    

See you at the summit!

TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update Complete!

August 29th, 2008 by

As I hinted at yesterday, we’ve been working hard to get your TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Help File up to date and not corrupting your investigations. Well, we kicked it into high gear and today the update is available!

Click here to download the new TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update! (7.8MB)

For those who already have the last update installed, this simply upgrades the existing copy. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us via the link at the top right of this page. Thanks!

Tech Support Thursday: New Dictionary Update Issue

August 28th, 2008 by

Hello everybody, and welcome to another Tech Support Thursday. This week we’re going to talk about the latest TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Update that you may have installed over the past few months.

The update was to bring the Version 4 software and its associated content in-line with the new TapRooT® Dictionary that was released with the latest TapRooT® Book. And while it was updated with the latest wordings and definitions, its formatting turned out to have a few issues. They have to deal with Root Cause Tree® analysis comments and the dictionary formatting. Two things:

  • Bullet points (like the ones I’m using here) should never, ever be copied and pasted into Root Cause Tree® Analysis comments. If you do so, and you save the Causal Factor Root Cause Analysis, you will not be able to successfully import this incident into another installation until that Causal Factor is deleted and the analysis completed again. The bullet point character corrupts the database entry for that Causal Factor. Not rendering it useless on the originating machine, as you can still edit, look, and modify the Causal Factor properties and Root Cause Analysis, but any exported .TS4 files will not import into any other install and you will see a “Run-Time 91” error pop-up when trying to import it.
  • Quotes (” “) that are copied and pasted from the latest Root Cause Dictionary update will also cause this export/import issue. This is due to the character set used in the Dictionary Update.

Note that we’ve disabled any further downloads of the Dictionary Update while progress continues on the fixed version. The good news is, in the next few days you should see an update where you can find the latest version of the TapRooT® Dictionary that won’t corrupt your Root Cause Tree® analysis in the slightest. We’re working hard to get this update to you as soon as possible, as this problem just came to our attention recently.

Thanks for using TapRooT® and keep checking back for that update!

What I learned at the 2008 Summit

July 14th, 2008 by

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I was so busy at the 2008 Summit that I really didn’t have a chance to take a break from Sunrise to Sunset.

That’s why I didn’t provide minute to minute reporting on what I was learning at the Summit – I just didn’t have a chance to write.

I did take some notes and I thought that readers might be interested in what I learned. Therefore, I will share my “A-Ha’s” here for everyone to read.

1. I learned from Darby Allen that 5-10% of all profits are consumed by the costs of accidents and incidents. The costs include hidden costs. For example:

  • Fines
  • Legal
  • Investigation
  • Productivity Loss
  • Retraining
  • Lost Production/Missed Orders
  • Sullied Reputation
  • Hidden Equipment Damage

2. I learned from Dave Prewitt that senior management needs a single source (a single database) that has all failure data and costs in it. This includes audit findings. That senior management can then use the data to build an organization that is resistant to disaster because they proactively ensure that systems are safe.

3. I learned from Lt. Col. Hayles that big organization naturally tend to cover up senior management failings and look for scape goats when big things go wrong. That this is a natural part of “protecting the mission of the organization”.

4. I received lots of good ideas about TapRooT® and the TapRooT® Software from the TapRooT® Advisory Board Meeting.

5. I really enjoyed the great people at the Summit and had a wonderful time at the Reception/Birthday Party where I got a chance to catch up with two old friends – David Busch and Kevin O’Connor.

6. I learned from Carolyn Griffith that the UK Rail Accident Investigation Board spends 7 months training one of their new investigators. Also, that a “no blame” policy is a major part of their investigations.

7. I heard many user best practices at several best practice sharing sessions including the TapRooT® User Best Practices Session run by Linda Unger and Michele Lindsay. I’ll try to do a separate write up of these later.

8. I learned from Chris Vallee (Six Sigma Black Belt and TapRooT® Instructor) that SnapCharT®s and Swim Lanes can be combined into a powerful Lean/Six Sigma tool.

9. That even though I had studied the accident at Three Mile Island extensively, I could learn much more by listening to an operator who was at the panel (Ed Frederick).

10. I learned from Marcia Wieder that dreams and visions are similar and that fear is the biggest roadblock to achieving your dreams (vision).

11. That I need to practice if I am going to play golf!

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I also learned so things in general about the Summit that others should know about…

1. That there were many outstanding sessions that people told me about (and that I wanted to attend) but that I couldn’t go to. Therefore, bring several people from your facility to cover all the applicable sessions that you want to learn from.

2. That you should come early and stay late. This helps you learn more.

Start by attending one of the many pre-Summit courses.

Next, come down early in the morning and have a leisurely breakfast while networking with other participants.

Don’t plan to leave early. Plan to stay over Friday night and leave Saturday morning.

3. That people love to share best practices. We had 10 Best Practice sharing sessions at the 2008 Summit that were focussed on allowing participants to share their knowledge with others. These were some of the highest rated sessions of the Summit because the calibre of the attendees at the Summit is so exceptional.

4. That people love to be inspired. Speakers that inspire are always highly rated. Heinz Bloch, Marcia Wieder, Nikki Stone, and Beverly Chiodo inspired their audience and helped people leave the Summit energized to make a difference when they returned to work.

5. That even with a crowd that is as enlightened at people at the TapRooT® Summit, it is hard not to blame people for mistakes. This became apparent after Lt Col Hayles talk. Some of the people I spoke to just could get by his mistake when he pulled the trigger in a friendly fire incident. They could see how he was set up for the accident by factors beyond his control. And that to prevent future friendly fire accidents, you must go beyond “being more careful next time.”

6. That a hot room for one is a cold room for another. Temperature is an individual preference.

Here are some things I already knew, but were reinforced by the Summit:

1. We have great clients that are industry leaders. I’m always impressed by the discussions we have and how willing participants are to share their best practices.

2. I have a great staff that knows what they are doing, plans well, and handles unexpected changes with panache (style, grace, and a flair for excellence).

3. That even the best in any industry can learn from others. Even the best companies can improve.

4. That even companies with the most to learn, have best practices that others can learn from.

5. That some of the most eye opening lessons come from outside your industry (if you can translate from their terminology to yours).

6. That having a good time and learning are not mutually exclusive activities.

7. That TapRooT® really is an exceptional root cause analysis tool that is changing the way the world solves problems.

8. That EVERY facility and company that uses TapRooT® should have someone at the Summit. We guarantee that what you learn will produce a return on investment at least 10 X the cost of your attendance or you get your money back. So start planning to attend in 2009!

Getting the Most From Your TapRooT® Software

May 6th, 2008 by


Once a year we offer a special class that teaches the TapRooT® Software called “Getting the Most from Your TapRooT® Software.”
This year the course is in Las Vegas on June 23-24.


This course is an intensive review of the TapRooT® Version 5 Enterprise (web) Software including:

– installation,

– configuration,

– data migration (from Version 4),

– administration,

– best practices,

– custom reports, and

– future release information.

Learn all the capabilities built into the amazing TapRooT® Software.


If you are a TapRooT® Power User or Software Administrator, don’t miss this course. Sign up at:

TapRooT® System Software Dictionary Help File Update Released!

April 8th, 2008 by

This update is for all users of the TapRooT® System Software, regardless of version.

This file will update your local TapRooT® Dictionary Help File, the file that is referenced whenever you look up the definition of root causes and/or corrective actions.

Download the update here. The update is 7.5MB in size.

And remember, if you have any issues or questions regarding the TapRooT System Software, be sure to check out the Support Knowledgebase to help you in resolving them, or to contact Technical Support.

TapRooT® Software System Administrators – Plan to Attend the Summit and a Pre-Summit Course

March 14th, 2008 by

Web Software

If you are a TapRooT® Software Administrator or a Power User who wants to get the most from their TapRooT® Software, you should attend the TapRooT® Summit and the Pre-Summit Course (Getting the Most from Your TapRooT® Software).

The Pre-Summit Course in on June 23-24. Tha TapRooT® Summit is on June 25-27. Both are being held in Las Vegas.


1. This is the only time during the year that we hold specialized TapRooT® Software Training: Getting the Most from Your TapRooT® Software.

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Ed Skompski, VP of TapRooT® Software Development, and Dan Verlinde, Software Project Manager, will teach an intensive review of the TapRooT® Version 5 Web Software system administration. Topics include software installation, configuration, data migration (from Version 4), software support and maintenance best practices, custom reports, and discuss future software development. The goal of the course is to help you get the most from the amazing version 5 software.

2. This is the only time during the year that we have a meeting that allows software users to discuss their best practices with other users and the developers. This happens at the TapRooT® Summit in the TapRooT® Software Techniques and Administrator Best Practices Track.

What’s included in the track? Here’s an outline of the sessions:

1. What’s New in the TapRooT® V5 Software – a User’s Forum

2. TapRooT® V5 Enterprise Software Implementation

3. Extracting Data from Your TapRooT® Database

4. TapRooT® User Best Practices

5. TapRooT® V5 Software Administration – From Installation to Configuration

6. TapRooT® User Success Stories

7. TapRooT® V5 Software – User to SUPER User!

8. Trending & Analysis Tools in TapRooT® V5 Software

9. Planning Your Improvements

Getting the most from your TapRooT® Software installation can save your company thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. How? By using the full capacity of the software to maintain and analyze your accident data. You may be able to replace old accident databases (thus saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in support/upgrade/maintenance fees by using the full capacity of the TapRooT® Database. Also, you may be able to more effective analyze incident trends to provide management with better information to more effectively improve performance – and save even more! 

Between the pre-Summit Course and the sessions at the Summit, TapRooT® Software Administrators will go back to work with plans to get much more from their TapRooT® Software installation.

Also, Summit participants will here the 5 Keynote Speakers –

Lt Col Ralph Hayles

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Gold Medal Winner Nikki Stone

 Images Carolyn Griffiths-2
UK RAIB Chief Inspector Carolyn Griffiths

Edward Frederick-4
TMI Operator during the accident, Ed Frederick

America’s Dream Coach, Marcia Wieder

But there is more! (At least more fun!)


Participants will also attend the Summit Reception (with Elvis and Nikki Stone), and can join the TapRooT® Cup Golf Tournament on Friday afternoon.

And besides these activities, there is always something to do in Vegas! Click here for some ideas.

So start planning to attend the Summit and training NOW!

TapRooT® Software: Which Version is Best for your Company?

May 7th, 2007 by

Single User, Multi-User, Corporate Multi-User — choices, choices — how do you weigh your options? Ed Skompski’s presentation at the Summit helped attendees make an informed decision. But if you missed Ed’s presentation at the Summit, “Comparing Individual User, Workgroup, and Enterprise TapRooT® Software – Which is Best for Your Company?” — you can view his papers below:

Ed Skompski

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Success Stories

If you are a TapRooT® User, you may think that the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System exists to help people find root causes. But there is more to it than that. TapRooT® exists to: Save lives Prevent injuries Improve product/service quality Improve equipment reliability Make work easier and more productive Stop sentinel events Stop the …

TapRooT® is a key part of our safety improvement program that has helped us stop injuries and save lives.

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