August 3, 2011 | Barb Carr

Root Cause Tip: Management Presentations – 3 Design Essentials

In our TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis courses and TapRooT® book (pgs 477-78), we discuss management presentations. They’re essential to the success of your corrective actions, because these presentations communicate your investigation’s results and proposed corrective actions to your company’s decision makers. You’ve got to convince management of the truth: You’ve seen the problem, you’ve done your homework, and you’ve got the solutions.

How do you do this? Make sure your visual aids have relevant content, readable text, and professional graphics and you’ll wow your management.


Begin with creating an outline of your presentation:

  • what happened
  • how it will get fixed
  • who will fix it
  • costs and timeframe.

Click here to learn more about our presentation content guidelines. I recommend using Microsoft PowerPoint for your presentation, because it’s user-friendly and creates professional-looking visuals.

Create your outline before considering visual aids. Each slide should serve only one purpose so your audience follows you easily, recommends Chris Witt , business presentation expert and coach of 20 years. The essential visuals you’ll need are a title slide, SnapCharT® of events, SnapCharT® including causal factors, and your Corrective Action Matrix®. These will communicate the most important elements of your investigation to your management.


Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist, recommends his 10-20-30 rule for presentations: Create a 10-slide presentation in 20 minutes using a minimum font size of 30. You may not be able to stick to the 10-slide rule if you have a long investigation. But begin with an outline, and creating your Power Point presentation in around 20 minutes will be a breeze. It will also protect you from complicating your visuals for your audience.

Each slide also needs a title, says Witt. Use text sparingly and choose a sans serif font like Arial. Research shows that it’s easier for to read on electronic screens than serif fonts like Times New Roman. Choose font colors that reflect your brand or logo. This ensures you’ll stick to a coherent, professional, and familiar color scheme, and will associate your presentation with your company’s brand reputation.


Your graphics must be clear and relevant to the message. Use these sparingly as well. The essential graphics are your SnapCharT®, Causal Factors, and Corrective Action Matrix®. Consider adding photos, videos, diagrams, and sketches of the incident, equipment, or scene. You can also use charts, graphs, simulations, logs, test results, and other relevant data to support your assessment of the incident. There’s no need to include the Root Cause Tree®. Its details may confuse your audience, who wants only the essential information needed to make a decision.

Avoid ClipArt and stock photos as well, says Witt, because they look unprofessional and clutter your presentation. Your graphics need a high resolution, whether they are photos or charts. Microsoft Excel’s charts, tables, and graphs are easy to create, clear, and customizable in color. You can also use the TapRooT® software to add color to your SnapCharT® and highlight a certain event or causal factor. The TapRooT® Software organizes your investigation and is the most effective tool for creating your SnapCharT® and Corrective Action Matrix.


Visual aids are meant to be just that: Aids to your presentation. Use them wisely, and your management will be even more impressed with your investigation results and convinced that your corrective actions will solve the problem.

What are your best practices for management presentations? What challenges have you faced? Tell us about it in the comments below!


Megan Craig is the Media Specialist at System Improvements, Inc.

Root Cause Analysis
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