Best Root Cause Analysis Tools & Methods

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Best Root Cause Analysis Tools & Methods

Root cause analysis is a critical process that helps organizations understand the factors contributing to problems and incidents. By identifying the root causes, businesses can implement targeted corrective actions and prevent future occurrences. Several effective tools and methods are available to assist professionals in conducting comprehensive root cause analyses.

The Importance of Root Cause Analysis

Before we delve into the specific tools and methods, let’s discuss the importance of root cause analysis. RCA offers several benefits to organizations, including:

  1. Preventing recurring issues: Identifying and addressing root causes helps prevent problems from recurring, reducing the likelihood of similar incidents in the future.
  2. Continuous improvement: RCA enables organizations to continuously improve their processes, products, and services by identifying areas for enhancement.
  3. Cost reduction: By addressing the root causes, businesses can eliminate inefficiencies, reduce downtime, and save costs associated with repeated problems.
  4. Enhanced decision-making: Understanding the underlying causes of problems provides valuable insights for informed decision-making and problem-solving.
  5. Increased customer satisfaction: By resolving issues at their core, organizations can deliver better-quality products and services, leading to higher customer satisfaction.

Now, let’s explore some of the most effective root cause analysis tools and methods.

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Best Root Cause Analysis Tools

There are various root cause analysis methods, as well as tools available. Here, we have listed some of the well-known root cause analysis tools.

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#1 – Barrier Analysis

The most effective root cause analysis tool is Barrier analysis. Most of the industrial sectors employ this kind of analysis. The technique identifies the energy flow while focuses on possible causes for these flows. It studies why obstacles could not prevent the flows from creating damages.

#2 – Current Reality Tree

Eliahu M. Goldratt developed this powerful and complex root cause analysis method. It represents all the informal factors in the form of a tree. It employs logical rules. This technique begins with a record of unwanted factors that we come across. These factors lead us to the fundamental causes.

#3 – Fishbone Diagram

Fishbone diagram is also called the Ishikawa diagram. This method is preferred by project managers to carry out a root cause analysis technique.

#4 – Change Analysis

This root cause analysis technique is commonly used for accidents and problems. It demonstrates different perspectives related to the problem.

#5 – Kepner Tregoe Method

This method is one of the effect root cause analysis methods. It is based on the facts, where one excludes the possible reasons so as to look for the real issue.

#6 – 5 Whys

It is a Japanese method for analysis, where people ask five “Whys.” Sakichi Toyoda developed this technique. It is used to find out the real cause of the issues related to the manufacturing process for Toyota Motors.

#7 – RPR Problem Diagnosis

This IITL-aligned diagnosis is designed especially for determining the root cause for IT-based problems.

Out of all the Root Cause Analysis methods, the most effective one is the 5 Whys technique. This technique helps in finding the root cause effectively. Let’s know about this technique in detail below.

5 Whys Technique

The method ‘5 Whys’ is a unit of the production system of Toyota. It came into being through special efforts by Sakichi Toyoda, who was a Japanese industrialist and inventor. This method turned out to be a significant unit of the philosophy ‘Lean.’

According to Taiichi Ohno, the main origin of Toyota’s technical theory is to put forward five times whenever they find an issue. After repeating the problem five times, the basic nature and the solution of the problem become crystal clear.

To successfully implement this technique, users need to take a learned decision. You should be aware of what is happening at the workspace. So, the process of root cause analysis must include users having practical experience.

How to implement 5 Whys

When you apply this innovative 5 Whys method, you search out the core of the issue and fix that problem accordingly. This technique shows that the problem source could even be unexpected.

Sometimes, problems that look like more of a technical one are actually process or human issues. That’s the reason it is essential to find and eliminate the root cause if you really like to avoid repetition of failures.

5 whys example

Steps on implementing 5 Whys:

“5 Whys” helps you in achieving improvement at various levels of an organization. So, follow the steps given below to get started with it.

Step 1: Build a team

Initially, you need to bring together a team of members from diverse departments. Each representation should be aware of the process they are going to deal with. With people from various departments, you will have different views and aspects. It even enables you to have enough information to form a decision.

Step 2: Discuss the issue

Next, you should discuss the issue with other team members and form a clear statement of the problem. This even helps in defining the reach of the problem. To find a valuable solution, you have to keep your focus steady.

Step 3: Ask Whys

Now, appoint a person to assist the entire process. The team leader will continue to ask questions to keep all focused. However, the answers should be real-data or fact-based. This facilitator will ask “Whys” till the root cause of the problem becomes clear.

Meanwhile, there should not be too many questions as it will create unreasonable complaints and suggestions. In some cases, there can be over one root reason. If that’s the case, you need to look for sub-reasons for every reason. It assists in resolving organization issues.

5 whys analysis

Step 4: Resolve the issue

After detecting the root cause, you can take the necessary measures to eliminate the problem. For this, all team members should look for the most effective solution. Plus, take steps to protect the system from recurring issues.

Once made the decision, one member should look after the entire process while applying the correct actions. After some time, the team has to meet once again and examine if their measures had a great result. Otherwise, you have to repeat the process.

Lastly, you should document the whole case and send the same to the organization. On sharing this data, you will be able to offer an insightful impression of different problems that others could face. Besides, they will know how to eliminate these problems.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is root cause analysis? Root cause analysis is a systematic approach used to identify the underlying causes of problems or incidents. It aims to uncover the fundamental factors contributing to an issue to develop effective solutions.
  2. Why is root cause analysis important? Root cause analysis is important because it helps organizations prevent recurring problems, achieve continuous improvement, reduce costs, make informed decisions, and increase customer satisfaction.
  3. What are some common root cause analysis tools? Common root cause analysis tools include the 5 Whys, fishbone diagram, Pareto analysis, fault tree analysis, failure mode and effects analysis, and several other methods tailored to specific industries or situations.
  4. How does root cause analysis contribute to process improvement? Root cause analysis contributes to process improvement by identifying areas for enhancement and implementing targeted corrective actions to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
  5. Where can I learn more about root cause analysis? There are various resources available online, including courses, books, and articles, that provide in-depth information about root cause analysis and its application in different industries.


Root cause analysis is a crucial process for organizations seeking to identify and address the underlying causes of problems and incidents. By utilizing effective tools and methods, professionals can conduct comprehensive analyses and develop targeted solutions.

The tools and methods discussed in this article, such as the 5 Whys, fishbone diagram, Pareto analysis, and fault tree analysis, offer valuable approaches to root cause analysis. Remember, a proactive and systematic approach to RCA leads to improved processes, increased efficiency, and enhanced customer satisfaction.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

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