Root Cause Analysis

graphic for root cause analysis


To familiarize staff members with Root Cause Analysis (RCA) techniques, specifically focusing on the “5 Whys” and the “Fishbone Diagram.” Understanding the root cause of a problem is crucial for implementing long-term solutions.

Topics Covered:

  • Introduction to Root Cause Analysis
  • The 5 Whys Method

Introduction to Root Cause Analysis

  • What is Root Cause Analysis?: Root Cause Analysis is a problem-solving method aimed at identifying the core issue that is causing one or multiple symptoms.
  • Why is RCA Important?: RCA helps to ensure that problems are fully understood, managed, and less likely to recur in the future.
  • When to Use RCA?: RCA is most effective when used for complex problems where the initial symptom is a sign of a deeper issue.

The 5 Whys Method

  • Understanding the 5 Whys: A technique that involves asking “Why?” five times in succession to drill down into the layers of a problem.
  • How to Use the 5 Whys: Start with the problem statement and ask “Why?” until you reach the root cause. Each answer forms the basis of the next question.
  • Application in Problem-Solving: This method is particularly useful for quickly getting to the root of a problem in a straightforward and easy-to-understand way.
  • Example:
    • Problem: A client’s campaign is not performing well.
    • Why?: The click-through rate is low.
    • Why?: The ad copy is not compelling.
    • Why?: It was written hastily.
    • Why?: Deadlines were tight.
    • Why?: Poor project planning.
    • Root Cause: Poor project planning.


Root Cause Analysis is an essential skill for any problem solver. The 5 Whys and Fishbone Diagram are practical tools that can be used individually or in combination to identify the root cause of a problem effectively.