Root Cause Analysis is one of the most potent tools in the fight against failure

S803 photo1Root Cause Analysis is used in a routine way in most medical situations. It is recognised that a symptom has an immediate cause, which can in turn be caused by a deeper seated problem. Physicians also understand that you cannot just jump in and start treating the symptoms. You need to stop to consider whether there's actually a deeper problem that needs your attention.

If you only address the symptoms – what you see on the surface – the problem will almost certainly happen again... which will lead you to re-address the same symptoms, again, and again, and again. If, instead, you look deeper to find out why the problem is occurring, you can remedy the underlying systems and processes that cause the problem.

We in maintenance also work with 'patients', machine patients. In the same way as with patients in the medical case, we have to find problems through the use of Root Cause Analysis.

Root Cause Analysis seeks to identify the origin of a problem. It uses a specific set of steps, with associated tools, to find the primary cause of the problem, so that you can:

  • Determine what happened.
  • Determine why it happened.
  • Decide on an action to reduce the risk of it happening again.

S803 photo4Root Cause Analysis typically leads to one or more of the following three basic types of causes:

  • Physical causes – something physical failed or stopped working.
  • Human causes – somebody did something wrong, made a judgment error.
  • Organisational causes – a system, process, or policy that people use to make decisions or do their work is inadequate.

The course's main aim is to equip course participants with sufficient skills to be able to do the following:

  1. Put in place a group of people with the necessary qualities to perform Root Cause Analyses successfully.
  2. Define the problem clearly and unambiguously.
  3. Perform the required data assembly through learnt investigation and exploration techniques.
  4. Find the root cause through various techniques, including cause and effect diagrams, and the 5M method.
  5. Generate solutions to the problem, find the best solution, implement the solution.

The accent of the course is on practical application through group work. The purpose of this is for students to internalise the method well.

Course Content

Module 1 – Problem Solving Fundamentals

  • Brain Dominance Test
  • The Competitive Edge
  • Ned Herrmann's Whole Brain Theory
  • Understanding the Brain
  • Whole Brain Thinking
  • Using Mindmaps
  • Using These Principles in Managing People (and Yourself)

Module 2 – Failure Cause Analysis Fundamentals 

  • Introduction to RCFA
  • What failure? (Defining the Problem)
  • Determining the problem boundaries
  • The 11 Problem Definition Steps
  • Root Cause – A True Pursuit?
  • Mental Barriers to Creative Thinking
  • Brainstorming – Idea Generation
    1. Team Work & Team Management
    2. Team Development
    3. Management & Team Responsibility
    4. Verbal Brainstorming

Module 3 – Principles of RCFA 

  • Introduction to the RCFA Wall Chart
  • The Cause and Effect Principle
  • Fault Tracing Fundamentals
  • The RCFA Analysis Process
  • Creative Idea Evaluation
  • Judgment
  • Critical Thinking

Module 4 – Getting RCFA to Work

  • Solution Implementation
  • Selling the Plan
  • Planning the Plan
  • What Can Go Wrong? Risk Analysis
  • Implementation Monitoring
  • Time Management
  • Team Facilitation

Module 5 – RCFA Workshop

  • Using the RCFA Wall Chart
  • Problem Statement
  • Individual Group Analysis
  • Class Synthesis


Who Should Attend


The course is intended for maintenance people who need to cope with maintenance problem situations.

S803 photo3

S803 photo2


Credits 12*, level 5**                      CPD Points: 5

* The course comprises 60 hours of study, of which 40 hours are in class, with a further 20 hours for the assignment.

**Occupational Certificate level


Included with this course:
Internationally acclaimed 
Herrmann Brain Dominance (HBDI) assessment and feedback by a 
HBDI professional.