The History of TapRooT®

The rest of the story about how TapRooT® was created …

Over 30 years ago, we started with research into human performance and the best incident investigation and root cause analysis tools. We put the knowledge we gained to build a systematic investigation process and tools with a coherent investigation philosophy. This process helps people who have never had extensive human factors training investigate human errors and equipment performance issues, find the real root causes, and fix them with effective corrective actions.

Mark Paradies, co-developer of the TapRooT® System, became familiar with advanced human factors technology during his studies at the University of Illinois. Mark had been in the Nuclear Navy and was familiar with high-reliability organizations and the errors that people make (even when they are well-trained & have good procedures). He learned the theories behind human error and advanced concepts to correct human performance problems.

Mark realized that the advanced human factors concepts that he had learned weren’t available to plant personnel, engineers, and managers (who generally don’t have human factors training). So, he built these concepts into TapRooT® RCA. This required careful design to include advanced human performance technology without the jargon used by experts. Mark Paradies and co-developer Linda Unger crafted a system that includes advanced human performance concepts without being overly complex. What advanced human factors concepts are in TapRooT®? The complete list is too long for this website, but it includes:

  • The SOR Model of Human Performance
  • Rasmussen’s Skill-Rule-Knowledge Model
  • Knowledge of Advanced Job Performance Aids
  • The Systematic Approach to Training (SAT)
  • Application of Cockpit Resource Management
  • Ergonomics (anthropometrics)
  • Communication reliability practices
  • An advanced behavior change model
  • Charles Hopkins’ human factors theories
  • Chris Wickens’ concepts on mental models
  • James Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model of error
  • Paradies/Unger’s human performance troubleshooting model

You don’t have to learn these concepts, have a Ph.D. in Psychology, or hire a human factors expert to take advantage of this technology. Just answer the questions and follow the guidance that TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis provides to find the root causes of human error.

Continuous Improvement

After developing the TapRooT® System, we continued improving it with feedback from thousands of users from our ever-growing, international user base. This feedback includes course attendee ideas (over 10,000 people are trained to use TapRooT® RCA each year), field experience, and ideas from the TapRooT® Advisory Board (TapRooT® users at industry-leading companies from around the world).

These improvement ideas led to the development of:

  • The TapRooT® Software (now version 6.14 and hosted in the cloud)
  • Course improvements
  • The Corrective Action Helper® Guide/Module
  • New ways to identify Causal Factors (Causal Factor Worksheets)
  • New root causes in the Root Cause Tree® Diagram
  • Improved definitions in the Root Cause Tree® Dictionary
  • The 5-step process for simple investigations
  • The latest TapRooT® Books

But we haven’t stopped improving. Every day we work hard to make TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis the most effective, easy-to-use, recognized leader in root cause analysis.

Here are some of our latest improvements…

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