Scalability of RCA Rt
Resources are scarce and costly. We cannot afford to crack every single nut with a sledgehammer. However, if the risk is high and the issue very complex, then we also need to have the capacity and right tools to succeed. Scalability of RCA Rt and its tools makes it an ideal choice to solve problems across the entire scale of issue complexities and risk levels.
For example, to fix a broken light globe, going through all 12STEPS is not necessary. That would be like using a sledgehammer to affix a small nail for picture hanging. You simply know how to fix the globe. But if you put light globe changing process under a magnifying glass, you will notice that a number of RCA Rt steps are performed intuitively and without reminder, and all is done within a minute or two:
- STEP 1 — Defining the issue (light level decreased; one light globe is broken),
- STEP 2 — Picking the target (which exact light globe needs to be changed?),
- STEP 9 — Select a change (choose correct new replacement light globe),
- STEP 10 — Prepare and execute (replace the old light globe),
- STEP 11 — Did it work? (turn the electricity on and observe).
In the simplest case intuition helps us define the problem, guess causes, recall a solution used successfully in the past and implement an action. This is entirely appropriate for selecting how to cross the road or how to address a routine issue at work. In fact, life would become impossible if we could not respond quickly to simple low risk issues using our experience and intuition.
For more difficult problems, asking the question Why? to each of the answers from the previous Why? (and continuing to do that 5 or so times — 5WHYS) will increase the chance of successfully understanding the underlying issues of a more complex problem that intuition cannot solve quickly. This is known as informal 5WHYS.
Applying 5WHYS and documenting thoughts on an A3 sheet, (5WHYS+A3, or formal 5WHYS) particularly in a team environment, will create improved discipline in focusing on the problem, identification of possible causes and will assist in tracking actions set in place to fix the problem forever. There is additional effort and cost incurred with this approach; however, many organisations find that for low to medium risk issues, with moderate complexity, the investment is more than justified.
Greater complexity and risk will justify the time spent on refining and improving the focus on the problem, exploration of more possible causes, particularly "combination causes," seeking hard evidence and more rigorous approaches to management of solutions. The amount of data will expand and the consequences of choosing incorrect solutions increase, so software like RCA2GO® that supports complex cause tree problem solving assists in recording the investigation.
Our RCA2GO® software brings the facts together, and provides access to them in a structured and coherent way. If the solution is not already evident, and the risk justifies further investment, then the 7 Quality Tools provide simple methods for investigators to progressively gather more evidence until causes are completely understood and either eliminated from the investigation or confirmed.
It is surprising how effective the 7 Quality Tools are even in the hands of people with little grounding in statistics. If results are not conclusive, and more work is justified, then increasing levels of technical assistance in the form of specialist with training in statistics, for example, may be justified. Many call these types of studies Six Sigma which has been described to be “... a disciplined method of using extremely rigorous data gathering and statistical analysis to pinpoint sources of errors and ways of eliminating them.”