September 30, 2020 | Mark Paradies

Beyond Root Cause Analysis [How to Go Beyond Root Cause Analysis]

Beyond Root Cause Analysis

Beyond Root Cause Analysis

Have you ever thought about going beyond root cause analysis? TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Users do all the time.

Before we can talk about going beyond root cause analysis, we will have to understand some basic terminology. Then we will discuss going beyond root cause analysis.

What is a Root Cause?

Here’s an article about the definition of a root cause…

Definition of a Root Cause

In summary, we started with this definition (developed from 1985-1992)…


The most basic cause (or causes)
that can reasonably be identified
that management has control to fix.

That was a good start and became the basis for developing the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System, but, as time passed, we found that we had a better, more modern definition:


The absence of a best practice
or the failure to apply knowledge
that would have prevented the problem.

Rarely does an accident happen that we didn’t already know how to prevent it. The absence of a best practice or the failure to apply the knowledge that we already possess allows an accident to occur. But if we already know the answers, why do we need root cause analysis? Because “we” (the world) know the answers but the company or facility that had the incident doesn’t know the knowledge or best practice or failed to apply the knowledge or best practice. That is why THEY need root cause analysis.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

If you use the second definition of root cause from above, then root cause analysis is:

“The systematic process of finding the
missing best practices or knowledge
needed to prevent a problem.”

Here is an article that explains that definition…

What is Root Cause Analysis? How Can You Find Root Causes?

The article also explains how to investigate a simple or major incident.

Going Beyond Root Cause Analysis

If you are familiar with TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis, you are familiar with finding “Generic Causes.”

Generic Causes start with root causes and then go beyond the root cause to find what is allowing the root cause to exist. Fixing Generic Causes can help you eliminate whole classes of problems. here is an example…

Let’s say that you have a problem with a procedure that has more than one action in a step. On the Root Cause Tree® you would identify the root cause:

more than one action per step

To fix that procedure, you would rewrite the procedure with just a single action per step.

Once you have finished fixing the one procedure involved in this incident, you might start thinking:

What about our other procedures?

Do those procedures have similar problems?

What if you find that many procedures have “more than 1 action per step?” Then you have a Generic Cause and you need to fix it.

Recommendations for fixing Generic Causes are included in the TapRooT® Corrective Action Helper Guide and Module of the TapRooT® Software. Here is the guidance for fixing the Generic Cause of “more than one action per step:”

beyond root cause analysis

Note that the Corrective Action Helper® Guide/Module also provides references to help you learn more about the problem that you are correcting.

Find Out More About Going Beyond Root Cause Analysis

TapRooT® Root Causes Analysis goes Beyond Root Cause Analysis. We call it advanced root cause analysis.

Would you like to learn more about advanced root cause analysis? Then we recommend that you attend a TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Course.

Here are the courses we provide:

For the dates and locations of our public advanced root cause analysis training, see:

And remember, these courses are guaranteed…

Course Guarantee:
Attend our course, go back to work, and use what you have learned to analyze accidents, incidents, near-misses, equipment failures, operating issues, or quality problems. If you don’t find root causes that you previously would have overlooked and if you and your management don’t agree that the corrective actions that you recommend are much more effective, just return your course materials and we will refund the entire course fee.

Don’t wait. Because of the COVID pandemic, we have reduced our number of courses and reduce the attendees allowed in each course. Register now to make sure you get a seat.

CLICK HERE to review our COVID precautions.

Beyond Root Cause Analysis during COVID

(Don’t worry – This is a joke.)

Root Cause Analysis, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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