Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Resource Center

Fixing the Root Cause

Fixing the root cause (aka Corrective Action):

  • “Fixing” the root cause is often called a Corrective Action Plan. A good solution will keep the problem from occurring again and is practical, feasible and cost-effective as well as robust and sustainable.
  • To address (fix) the root cause, potential root cause solutions are evaluated, a solution (or combination of solutions) is selected, the action plan is developed, and the solution is implemented and verified.

Evaluate potential solutions:

  • Combine solutions that are similar or are extensions of each other.
  • Screen solution candidates for practicality, feasibility and cost-effectiveness; delete those that fail these tests.

Select the best solution:

  • Develop a criteria and an approach to be used to evaluate solution candidates against that criteria.
  • Decision Matrices can aid decision-making; many types of matrices are available to help evaluate solution candidates including:
    • Pros & Cons Matrix
    • Force Field Analysis
    • Plus-Minus Attribute Rating
    • Musts and Wants Analysis
    • Nominal Group Technique
    • Voting and Ranking
    • Kano Analysis
    • (Is one technique better than another? That is up to you to decide.)

Develop and implement the action plan:

  • The action plan outlines what steps are needed to implement the solution, who will do them, and when they will be completed.
  • Simple Action Plans have a “who, what, & when” format.
  • Complex Action Plans often use PERT and Gantt Charts as action planning tools.

Verify the action plan:

  • Verify that the solution works as designed.
  • Always check to see if the solution creates new problems by checking with the users, asking specific questions on use, usability and performance. To verify, ask:
    • Does it work?
    • How well does it work?
    • Does it work for all conditions and all participants?
    • Does it create other problems?
  • Adjust the solution quickly if:
    • Instructions are unclear
    • Using the solution creates confusion
    • The solution creates other problems