June 15, 2022 | Mark Paradies

What is the Root Cause?

What is the Root Cause?

Common Root Cause Questions

I’m often asked:

“What is the root cause of…”


Where is the root cause ________ on the Root Cause Tree®?

Draw a SnapCharT® Diagram

The first thing I usually explain is that we don’t try to identify the root causes until we have collected all the facts on a SnapCharT® Diagram. That’s true in both the 5-Step Process (for simple incidents) and the 7-Step Process (for major investigations) that are shown below.

Both Processes

Thus, even for simple incidents, the first step is to collect information and draw a SnapCharT® Diagram.

That’s doubly true for a major accident.

Jumping to Conclusions

One of the reasons that people ask me the second question:

Where is the root cause ________ on the Root Cause Tree®?

is that they think they know the answer before starting the investigation. They have jumped to a conclusion. They just want to know where their answer is on the Root Cause Tree® Diagram so they can recommend the corrective action that they already have decided that they should implement.

This happens more often than you might guess. People love to jump to conclusions.

TapRooT® RCA is designed to stop you from jumping to conclusions by following a process that makes sure you ask many questions and discover important facts BEFORE you start drawing conclusions (finding root causes, Generic Causes, and developing corrective actions).

Tempted to Jump?

So, the next time you are tempted to jump to a conclusion, STOP!

Follow the process and do your homework.

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis will guide you to the root causes AFTER you have found the facts, identified all the Causal Factors, and taken each Causal Factor through the Root Cause Tree® Diagram to find its root causes (and perhaps, Generic Causes). Then you are ready to develop effective corrective actions using the Corrective Action Helper® Guide.

corrective action
The Corrective Action Helper® Guide

Learn the TapRooT® RCA Process

Avoid jumping to conclusions by applying TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis. Learn about TapRooT® RCA by attending TapRooT® Training. After all, TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis is “Changing the Way the World Solves Problems.”

TapRooT® Changing the Way the World Solves Problems

The course I would recommend for people who want to lead investigations of seemingly simple problems or major accidents is the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course. Here is a link to upcoming public courses around the world…


If you would like to have a course at your site contact one of our TapRooT® Implementation Advisors by CLICKING HERE or calling 865-539-2139.

Implementation Advisors
Investigations, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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