Root Cause Analysis

Course Fee: USD $4600.00 / $6900.00
Continuing Education Units: 1.4 / 2.1
Course Duration: 2 Day / 3 Day

Request Onsite Class Proposal

The on-site Root Cause Analysis course consists of lectures, practices, and role plays that provide participants with an in-depth understanding of how to analyze a system in order to identify the root causes of problems.

The course is intended for quality and process engineers, technicians, and others responsible for troubleshooting technical problems; corrective action coordinators; managers, supervisors, team leaders, and process owners; anyone who wants to improve their ability to solve recurring problems.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Differentiate between problem solving and root cause analysis
  • Implement five steps for carrying out effective root cause analysis
  • Select from and apply a variety of tools that support root cause analysis
  • Support and critique root cause analysis carried out by others

The course is taught on-site as a two-day class or three-day class. The 2-day version excludes one of the case studies, as well as, the facilitating and statistical modules.

There are no prerequisites, although familiarity with standard problem solving models (e.g., PDCA, 8-D, and ISO 9001 corrective action) and the seven QC tools (flowcharts, cause & effect diagrams, Pareto charts, check sheets, run charts, histograms, and scatter diagrams) would be useful.

The student certificates display 1.4 or 2.1 continuing education units, depending on whether it was the 2-day or 3-day course version.

Students receive a bound copy of all the slides presented during the class.

The flat rate for the 3-day on-site RCA course is $6900, plus $25 per student, plus instructor travel expenses. Our 2-day on-site course is $4600, plus $25 per student, plus instructor travel expenses. The 2-day version excludes a case study, as well as, the facilitating and statistical modules. Class size should be at least 4 participants and no more than 20 participants.

Topics in the 3-day course version include:

  • Typical Problems with RCA
    • Why most problem solving models don’t get to the root cause
    • How analytical and creative thinking must be integrated
    • Difference between content and process thinking
  • Step 1 – Problem Definition
    • How to ensure that the right problem is being worked on
    • Tools for priority setting (Pareto, performance matrix, radar chart)
    • Developing a clear and sufficient problem statement (includes practice)
  • Step 2 – Understanding the Process
    • How every problem is a process failure
    • How a SIPOC diagram can set boundaries and define interrelationships
    • Using flowcharts to drill down into the right part of the process (includes practice)
  • Step 3 – Identifying Possible Causes
    • Why this step is critical to effective root cause determination
    • Three ways to identify possible causes
    • Three options for selecting or eliminating causes
  • Step 4 – Data Collection
    • How this step avoids shotgun problem solving by identifying most likely cause(s)
    • Population versus sampling; options for sampling
    • Check sheets, graphs and tables for discrete data collection
    • Surveys, interviews and field observation for opinions or less precise data
  • Step 5 – Data Analysis
    • Tools for discrete data analysis (run charts, histograms, Pareto diagram, modified scatter diagram, pivot tables)
    • Tools for softer type data (affinity diagram, relationship digraph)
    • Technical versus organization problems and analytical versus creative problems
    • Statistical tools for data analysis (z, t, & F tests; ANOVA, chi-square)
    • Use of MS Excel
  • Consulting Case Study Practice
    • Participants role play consulting with instructor on a problem
    • Review of key learning points
  • Case Study Practice
    • Practice on a project relevant to participants’ organization
  • Incidents/Events and Human Error
    • How incident/accident analysis differs
    • Causes of and solutions for human error
  • Case Study Practice
    • Practice on an integrative problem
  • The Rest of the Problem Solving Process
    • Identifying and selecting solutions
    • Importance of project management
    • Consideration of change management issues
    • Some models for understanding resistance and planning change
    • Implementation, follow-up, and standardization
  • Management/Organizational Issues Affecting RCA Projects
    • Cognitive biases that affect RCA
    • Impact of organizational culture
    • Structures/roles that can support RCA
  • Coaching/Facilitating Root Cause Analysis
    • How coaching/facilitating differ from doing
    • Roles facilitators can take
    • Processes to facilitate
    • A coaching model
  • Statistical Hypothesis Testing and MS Excel
    • What t, F, and ANOVA tests can do
    • How to do them in MS Excel
    • Using chi-square for count data

If you have any questions about this course, please call us at 770-862-1766 or send an e-mail to

Whittington & Associates

We are committed to providing expert training, effective consulting, and valuable auditing. If you have any questions about our services, please contact us at 770-862-1766, or