March 2, 2011 | Ken Reed

Root Cause Tip: Speeding up the TapRooT® Investigation Process – SnapCharT®

This is the second in a series on how to efficiently use TapRooT® to perform your investigations.  View the first column in the series here.

Although I can’t give you a specific amount of time that a TapRooT® investigation will take, what I can tell you is that, from experience, about 70% of your time will be spent gathering information and drawing your SnapCharT®.   So, if we are looking for ways to streamline the investigation process, this is a great place to concentrate.

Note that gathering information is required no matter what investigation system you are talking about.

In order to do a proper root cause analysis, you must have information to analyze.  Luckily, the TapRooT® SnapCharT® can be used to actually make the information gathering process faster and more accurate than any other system available.  To build your SnapCharT®, you have to gather information.

This involves gathering data from:

Interviews
Record reviews
Video records
Company procedures and policies
Federal Regulations, etc.

Interviewing people involves:

Working around work schedules
Finding them after their shifts
Looking at vacation schedules
Scheduling follow-up interviews

So we will use the SnapCharT® to make this data gathering step more efficient.  First, put everything you currently know on a Spring SnapCharT®.  This gives you a great graphical view of what you know and, as importantly, what you don’t know.  Populate your SnapCharT® with questions you want to ask about the incident, organizing your thoughts and picturing what kinds of problems may have occurred.

Your next step is to build a Summer SnapCharT®.  This is where you start answering all the questions you had on your Spring SnapCharT®.  Because you have put your questions on the Spring SnapCharT®, you are much better prepared to start gathering your information.  Instead of starting your interviews with the generic, “Tell me what happened,” you now have specific questions you can ask, right off of your Spring SnapCharT®.  This will greatly minimize the number of times you need to go back to re-interview people.  You already know what questions you have and what holes you have in your investigation, so you can ensure that you are gathering all the pertinent information in your very first interview.

Please note that this doesn’t mean that you won’t come up with more questions during your subsequent interviews.  I’m sure that you will. However, you have a much better baseline to start with, and your first interviews (and record reviews, policy reviews, etc) will be much more complete.  This will greatly reduce the time it takes to conduct your data gathering.

You can’t perform a root cause analysis if you don’t have any data to analyze.  By using the SnapCharT® tool in the TapRooT® process, you will be able to more quickly gather the pertinent data you need for your subsequent analysis.  This will be much more effective than just asking “Why?” 5 times!!

The 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training course will help you become more effective in your collection of information. This course includes a half day of cognitive interview training — practicing technique enhances proficiency in gathering information for root cause analysis.

[The third column in this series will be posted next Wednesday.]

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