Haas Root Cause Analysis and Problem Solving – A new evidence-based approach

A new approach in principle to finding cause in problem solving - abandon starting with theories or possible reasons. Instead, start with the symptom facts and make deductions from these as to cause. Avoid generating a plethora of possibilities that can become unmanageable. Get to why a problem is occurring much more quickly. I have recently retired from Rolls-Royce where I was described as R-R's global expert/investigation lead on problem investigation.

What I offer in terms of problem solving and root cause analysis is described below in a personal reference from Rolls-Royce.

"During this time, he pioneered new, unique methods to analyse technical problems. As well as creating and running Rolls-Royce's most advanced training in this field, Simon used his people skills in leading investigations successfully with more than 100 different teams.

He also successfully led change in Rolls-Royce in the UK, Germany and the USA and shared the new methods with Rolls-Royce's customers (e.g. Airbus, Singapore Airlines, British Airways).

He was highly respected from shop-floor to very senior levels of the company. His methods are still successfully used, even though Simon has now left Rolls-Royce.”

- Personal reference from a Chief Engineer in my last company

The root cause analysis and problem solving support that I can provide are firstly training. If you need help with what is root cause analysis? what are the best root cause analysis methods? how can I do root cause analysis most effectively? what are the benefits of advanced root cause analysis training? then the training I can provide answers all of these questions.

Secondly, I can provide a service that goes beyond training. You want to improve your company's problem solving? ? Then I can come to you and lead a team to solve one of your problems. (trying to solve more than one problem at a time is chaos and no progress). Others in your company can be trained by me to do my job of leading problem solving/root cause analysis teams, passing on the skill and the benefits. In the first instance, I am happy to do this free of charge (except travel and hotel costs) by way of 'selling' what I provide.

A bit of clarification - what is the difference between problem solving and root cause analysis? To solve a problem, it is necessary to define the problem (what happened), then find the cause (why it happened) and then put in place a solution that eliminates the cause and therefore eliminates the problem. The most difficult step by far (usually) in my experience is finding the cause and that is the purpose of root cause analysis. Therefore, root cause analysis supports the problem solving process at the 'finding the cause' step.

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Study the facts to deduce the actual cause(s) - Avoid generating lots of possible causes

Root Cause Analysis - What is different?

The new approach avoids generating lots of possible causes (e.g. with a Fishbone diagram).

Instead, it captures the detail facts regarding the symptoms. From each symptom a deduction is made. All these deductions are put together to arrive at the root cause. In other words, each deduction creates a piece of jigsaw. When put together, all the deductions give a complete picture. 

This approach also looks in a very structured way at what is different between when/where a problem is occurring and ALSO when/where a problem is NOT occurring. These differences have proved to be a massive help in finding cause. This is not referring to just one difference. For example, a problem occurs on one type of jet engine, but not on other types, the same problem occurs with some airlines/customers but not others who use the same engine, the problem occurs during descent, not during taxiing, take-off, climb or cruise, the problem is a radial crack in the blade, not an axial/transverse crack, the problem is in the blade, not in the blade root, the problem occurs at a particular engine speed, not other speeds and so on. All of these facts and patterns are entered onto a (relatively simple) evidence matrix. It cannot be overstated just how effective the approach just outlined has been in finding cause. I have used this approach (leading teams, not just on my own) on over 100 different problems

This approach has been developed from experience (not abstract thinking or text books) and by learning from the  pitfalls of previous methods used.

Finding the cause more effectively is absolutely key to quicker problem solving

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Root cause analysis - find cause with the Haas method

The benefits?

The new approach, used on over 100 investigations, has proven to be at least 50% quicker in getting to cause. Further, it has proven to be much more robust – that is, the conclusion as to cause(s) has much, much less chance of being erroneous.

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Why the change?

Previous methods involved generating a list of possible causes. Then evidence was used to prove/disprove each one.. Often the number of possibilities meant that it became unmanageable, time consuming, frustrating for the team and confusing. In some cases, the confusion led to the wrong conclusion as to why the problem occurred and so to a solution that did not work. This meant having to start all over again – time consuming, expensive and, not surprisingly, customers hated it.

What can I offer?
Two things:

  1. Deliver Root Cause Analysis training to the new methods.
  2. Lead / facilitate teams in your company to find root cause of a problem.

For more information about how I can help you get to the root cause of your problems, see my services page or contact me using the form below.

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