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.
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 and root cause analysis 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 right person.
"Hearing the words "outage" or "crash" in an I.T. environment is not something you would like to hear on your watch..."
On a day to day basis our attention is consumed by events and incidents to which we react. In response to some of these, we drill down and do root cause analysis to ensure that an incident does not recur. Somehow it does not cross our minds that whilst we are doing the right things, we are only doing so reactively based on what has already happened. We are in a perpetual cycle of fire fighting!