During the 1980/1990’s and in many organisations, unsolved problems were no option. Root cause analysis delivered the root causes of problems. In turn, this provided the insights to solve the problems once and for all. In the increasingly complex world, however, root cause analysis identified too many causes. It didn’t work well anymore. In its place came best practices and ongoing process improvement. Initially, it worked. But in today’s world, environments change quicker than processes can be updated and tested.
In this situation we adapted root cause analysis to focus on high-impact problems and used patterns where data, mathematics and spreadsheets fell short. It delivered causes and insights today’s practices (traditional and advanced) had missed. Some of those turned out to be at such fundamental level that they delivered breakthrough results in areas that had not been analysed.
Examples of fundamental and common root causes we found:
- The root cause of crippling bureaucracy and overwhelming complexity
- Executives and managers must make decisions while the guidance to what works in today’s world is too difficult to find.
- A communication gap between central organizations and the field. Indicators for such a gap:
- Too many hits with Intranet search.
- Outdated or conflicting strategies, standards, processes and protocols.
- Insufficient compliance in the field.
- Lessons learned being lost.
- A crippling bureaucracy and/or overwhelming complexity.
- Capacity bottlenecks/traffic jams and their devastating impact: a known phenomenon in complex systems but little attention in the virtual and complex world of processes, IT applications, hierarchies and in brain research.