Cause analysis is often referred to as Root Cause Analysis and is the method of identifying the source of a problem. This method of discovering the source of why something has occurred is detailed here. Root Cause analysis varies slightly when dealing with IT-based issues. We will include IT-based thinking and methods in this document.
1. Gather Information – The first step is to gather up information, we need to get as much information from, documents, IP addresses, traceroutes, logs, user testimonials, and system administrator feedback and thoughts. As much information as you can gather may be useful in the information gathering stage.
2. Identify the problem – the second stage is to identify the issue and create a problem statement. Include, when, where, how, frequency, what systems were impacted and where the issue began or started from, such as region, office location or user that first reported the problem.
3. Cause and effect – The third step is to identify the components you need to combine in order to have the issue occur if you don’t need a component that is responsible for the issue or effects it, you can safely remove that from the criteria for cause and effect.
4. Isolate the issue – the fourth step is to isolate all of the possibles causes and start eliminating ones that you can’t replicate the issue against. Here is where you basically try and replicate the issue and remove causality by trying each cause to see if they create the same effects. Remove all causes until you are left with the one that creates the effect you are looking for.
5. Create a report – the last and fifth stage is to report on what has caused the issue. You can build a cause and effect chart and show what the results are.
There are also different ways to use for root cause analysis which include
1. The 5 why analysis – Asking Why five times to get deeper into the issues and figure out where it originates from.
2. Failure Mode analysis – This will help in the identification of a failed process. This can identify the amount of times an issue occurs.
3. Fault Tree Analysis – Using Boolean logic to discern the root cause of an issue.
4. Fish Bone Diagram – Using the Ishikawa methodology of figuring out an issue.
5. Current Reality Tree – Listing all the undesirable events and problems observed in a process to discover its cause, useful when trying to troubleshoot multiple causes.
Depending on what kind of issue you are experiencing may dictate you steer away from the main RCA methodology and use one of these sub methodologies to solve your issue.