Understanding the Real Meaning Of a Root Cause

 

Most IT Professionals do not make the distinction between the Technical Cause of a problem and its Root Cause. These terms are often used inter-changeably or worse case, there is no distinction made between them at all. The IT Professional who “gets this” distinction has a major advantage over his/her colleagues in determining a Root Cause quicker, cheaper and permanently. The trend of recognizing this distinction will grow in the years to come.

 

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Emerging Trends in ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS (RCA) for 2017

I am a professional problem solver. When I started applying my skills set as an Industrial Engineer to the IT environment, I was astonished at the maturity level of troubleshooting skills, specifically Root Cause Analysis, in this sector.  I became aware of a  whole generation of IT Professionals who have never been taught the fundamentals of deductive reasoning or critical thinking skills. There was (mis)use of the “5 Whys” technique and attempts to clone branded solutions to in-house situations, but little else in RCA. That has changed gradually over the last 10 years, but there are still some very basic problems and obstacles in getting RCA properly embedded into the Service Management environment.

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Asking, “What It Is Not?” Will Create Significant Insights

Into the Incident Experienced

In an incident situation,we are always looking for that “Silver Bullet” question – the one question that would bring some insight to the incident being experienced. The good news is that there is such a question; in fact there are a few of these questions that could provide you with that insight needed. We call that the “but not” question.

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Who Has the Information in Incident Investigation?

Simple Question, But Powerful!

One of the most important questions to ask yourself in attempting to solve an incident quickly, accurately and permanently is to ask the following three questions:

  1. What do you know about the incident?
  2. What don’t you know about the incident?
  3. How can you collaborate with whom that could provide you with this missing information?
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Are you Identifying the Correct Fault in Problem Solving Sessions?

Over the years as a consultant, I’ve learned how to listen to what people are saying, albeit doing it for a different reason you might have had in mind. I am doing it to eliminate the “noise” and “clutter” normally surrounding problem solving sessions. This might surprise you, but the biggest obstacle in solving problems and incidents effectively, is the human nature to “elevate” or escalate things in order to get the appropriate attention of the other person.

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