Adriaan du Plessis

Johannesburg, South Africa | Managing Director of the Global IT CSI Practice
Adriaan provides consulting, facilitation and implementation services for root cause analysis, decision making and business improvement as well as people development using proven KEPNERandFOURIE™ tools and techniques. As a world-class facilitator he focuses on the use of a divergent set of improvement and thinking tools to assist businesses to enhance value, specifically in Root Cause Analysis, IT Root Cause Analysis and Decision Making.

Recent Posts

Guidelines for Effective Root Cause Analysis

By Adriaan du Plessis on Feb 10, 2015 8:33:00 PM

Root Cause Analysis Efforts are generally procedure based and structured, but how do you know whether the process is effective? Answering this question is almost like the remark a client made in a discussion with me recently, namely “Where do you start drawing a circle?”

The simple answer is, you put a pen on paper and start drawing. A lot can be learned from this statement when considering whether a root cause analysis effort is effective. Often there is a lot of initial inertia and people arguing as to how the root cause process should be structured. An effective process will be of such a nature that you can start work on the problem immediately, such as gathering and organizing information, without unnecessary time delays.

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RCA Facilitation for Complex Problems

By Adriaan du Plessis on Feb 3, 2015 6:07:00 PM

Subject Matter Experts and Process –

Problem Solvers are often asked to facilitate a root cause analysis session because the problem owner is of the view that the problem is complex.  This article will focus on “how to process/facilitate a root cause analysis for a complex technical problem,” and the use of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

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New decision making approach - far different than old approach!

By Adriaan du Plessis on Nov 18, 2014 7:45:47 PM

During the 1980’s, we were all taught that decision making requires us to think in terms of objectivesalternatives and potential risk. In essence, methodologies focused on making a rational choice and selecting a viable alternative to implement.  Whilst objectives and potential risk remain a constant feature,  we need to critically review the concept of alternatives in current day decision making.

The reason for critical review is two fold. Firstly, potentially an alternative may only provide a part of the future decision outcome, or worse, the decision outcome we are seeking does not have alternatives at present.  The latter is often visible when required to decide solutions for the Information Technology problems.  As Charles Kepner (KEPNER et al (1981).  The New Rational Manager.) already postulated in the eighties, the outcome of a decision is  “what ought to be done”.  This notion of what ought to be done actually implies more that just choosing between alternatives, it postulates that decision making must be a “solution creation” exercise.

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Find Root Cause First Time Every Time

By Adriaan du Plessis on Oct 21, 2014 4:19:45 PM

We often do ‘root cause analysis’ and conclude that a specific cause is present, for which cause we promptly proceed to solutions, to only find in due course that the same problem recurs.  While in such cases we may seem to be following proper process, we are in actual fact not doing so, else the problem would not recur.  As people who have a natural tendency to jump to conclusion and to fix urgently since this solves the issue.  For tougher problems, to avoid this pitfall, we can exploit the human inclination of quick conclusion and solution, and add a little patience and use more time.  

Try the following sequence (if you are familiar with a KEPNERandFOURIE CauseWise at all levels, this adjusted approach will be familiar to you):

  1. Do a Proper Problem Statement with Object and Fault.
  2. List 2 or 3 critically unique features of the problem.
  3. Now accommodate your urge and list possible causes.
  4. Test the possible causes using the “Thinking On Your Feet” Approach, and eliminate those possible causes that is clearly not the cause.  This results in a short-list of possible causes.
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The Benefits of Stakeholder Analysis

By Adriaan du Plessis on Oct 14, 2014 5:22:00 PM

IT Service Management Players mostly need to make decisions in a short period of time, failure to make quick effective decisions will delay solutions being implemented and therefore also customer experience.  Involving stakeholders who affect or may be affected by the envisaged decision, sounds onerous, when fast solutions are necessary. 

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