The Route Cause Analysis is a simple but effective way to understand the reasons, why something is happening. The result is a graph, that outlines the visible outcome (typically a problem) and a step by step investigation of the underlying phenomenon, which is causing the problem. Digging deeper, you are investigating the multiple reasons, that are causing the phenomenon. 

Done right, the Route Cause Analysis provides the necessary insights to conduct an outside – in methodology market analysis. We use crawler, our expert community feedback and the interviews with key stakeholders to verify the results and avoid bias.  

You also need to correct the symptom that started the process in the first place but if you’ve run the process correctly it will be the last time you need to fix it.

How to Run a Route Cause Analysis?

Step 1: Agree on the problem statement

Spend some time making sure that you have a good definition of the problem. Don’t skimp on this step because if you have a muddy problem definition you will have a muddy solution.

Step 2: Ask “Why Did This Happen”

Simply determine what happened to cause the problem. Just go one layer at a time here. Don’t try to get too fancy.

Step 3: Check – Is This a Root Cause?

Stop and ask yourself if the „Why“ you just wrote down is the real and underlying root cause of the problem. If it’s not then you have another symptom and you need to go back to Step 2 and ask again.

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you have the final and underlying cause of the issue. Typically you will need to ask the Why question about 5 times to get to the root cause. Now you know why it’s called The 5 Whys Process.

It might take fewer or more than five so be prepared to keep going until you get it solved.

Step 4: Fix the underlying cause, and correct the symptom

Now you need to fix both the underlying cause that you have uncovered and the symptom.

You do this not to fix the problem you started with (the symptom) but to prevent the problem from occurring again. This is the real value of the process.