Understanding Root Cause Analysis
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by Uday Denduluri
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What is a Problem?

A problem can be defined as anything that is not going as per plan, per schedule or as it is expected to. The problem is very generic in nature. A problem can be an electric machine failure, an electronic component failure or a Mechanical failure. A human incompetence can also be treated as a problem: lack of motivation, lack of understanding, lack of technical competence, etc. But, let us try to confine it to software development and try to understand some problems related to it. Later we will try to analyze the roots that have caused the problem.

The developers see such kind of statements: “Development phase has been delayed by 2 weeks” or “Design does not suffice all the requirements.” All such kinds of problem will lead to some other problem known as “Schedule Variance.” Schedule is the plan for executing a project and Variance is the slippage of the plan. Hence, the main problem here is that Schedule Variance and sub-problems are “Improper/Incomplete Design,” “Human-Resource Attrition,” “Undocumented Artifacts,” etc. Any sub-problem can also be taken as a problem and analyzed further. This depends on the impact the problem creates.

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User Comments

Title: Root Cause Analysis   
Name: Chuck
Date: 2008-06-12 11:16:15 PM
You can get some free videos at
Title: More on Root Cause Analysis   
Name: Jane V.
Date: 2007-06-05 4:29:48 AM
Thanks for the overview. Another excellent source on Root Cause Analysis is: http://www.12manage.com/methods_root_cause_analysis.html
Title: Understanding Root Cause Analysis   
Name: Naveen
Date: 2007-05-17 7:25:45 AM
Some of the text in "Figure 3" of this article is not readable. Can someone upload a better picture?

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