July 7, 2010 | Barb Carr

Root Cause Analysis Tips – How Important is your SnapCharT®?

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips column.

During a recent 5-Day course, we were working on a major exercise that we call “The Water Hammer,” and I was quite pleased with how well the students did. Part of the exercise involves students identifying causal factors from a SnapCharT® that we have given them. This particular class nailed the causal factors in a short period of time in what is a fairly involved incident with many causal factors. Later that day, when they were working on their final exercise with their own incident, one group was having a little trouble finding their causal factors, but when I went to the chart, I could see them right away. Why could they not find them when they had done so well on the previous exercise? Because of the way they had worded things on the chart.

Let me make this simple point:

Good SnapCharT®=

All Causal Factors=

All Root Causes=

Good Corrective Actions=


The bottom line is that the SnapCharT® is the foundation for everything else you do. You should keep in mind when compiling your chart that the more detail you can add the better, and wording does matter. Remember, causal factors look like this:

Who did what wrong or what was done wrong?

What equipment failed or did not work as intended?

When you are building your chart, you should keep this in mind and word things accordingly; this will make your job much easier. Here are some examples of how causal factors might be worded:

Mechanic B did not close Valve A as required (who did what wrong)

Check-valve pin breaks (what equipment failed)

An important part of building your SnapCharT® is adding undesired actions or conditions.

If you want to get laser-focused on causal factors and other best practices, why not attend the Advanced TapRooT® Techniques course prior to this year’s TapRooT® Summit? This course will help you get to the next level, and this discussion is just a sample of what we talk about in the course.

Thanks for visiting the blog, and see you soon.

Root Cause Analysis
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