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How To Apply Root-Cause Analysis (RCA) To Solve Problems

Root-Cause Analysis is a key skill for problem-solving. In this article, you’ll learn about Root-Cause Analysis and how to apply it to solve your team or company problems and boost productivity.

How To Apply Root-Cause Analysis (RCA) To Solve Problems

What you’ll learn:

  • The 5 steps to perform root-cause analysis to solve problems

Content Summary

Points to Note
Power Questions
Action Planning: Gain a clear picture

Root cause analysis, or RCA, seeks to identify the origin of a problem using specific steps to determine what happened and why, plus how you can reduce the chances of it happening again.

Firstly, define the problem, that is, what are the specific symptoms? Be as precise as possible at this stage.

Then you can collect information, like how long it’s been going on and the impact of the problem. You want to be clear and complete, so the facts are easy to see.

This will allow you to identify possible causes. Remember, you are going beyond what is obvious here, so you’ll want to dig deeper than normal.

Then identify the real root causes. Ask what and why. You should find the root cause through these analyses.

Finally, recommend and implement solutions. When and how should you make things happen? Who should do the work? What are the risks? How do you prevent it from happening again?

Completing RCA like this will help you solve problems before they overwhelm you

Points to Note

  • Define the problem
  • Collect information
  • Identify possible causes
  • Identify the real root causes
  • Recommend and implement solutions

Power Questions


  • How did you go about defining the problem? What did you need to do?
  • What methods did you use to collect the information you needed? Could you have got any more?
  • How many possible causes did you identify? How did these lead you to the root cause?
  • What plans did you put in place to ensure this problem was resolved for now & the future?


  • What key learning points did you take from the session and from completing the action?
  • Was there anything covered that you are already doing?
  • What part of the session was most relevant to you and why?
  • What self-guided learning can you take to learn more about this topic?
  • How can you pass on the learning to other members of staff?
  • What are you going to do to ensure that the learning sticks and that you remember it?


  • What actions are you going to take as a result of this session?
  • What’s the first action that you are going to take?
  • Are there any resources or support from others that you will need?
  • How will you measure your success and effectiveness in this area?
  • Assume you’ve taken action and have achieved some great results; how can you take your performance to the next level in this topic?

Action Planning: Gain a clear picture

Find a problem that will be covered by the RCA method.

Run through the first two steps (define the problem and collect information) and make sure you have enough information to get a clear picture of what’s going on.

Identify the possible causes by thinking through what might have happened. Narrow down the options as to what the real root causes were. Find possible solutions, implement them and measure how successful the measuring has been.