Apollo Root Cause Analysis (ARCA)
ARCA is the brainchild of Dean Gano, who studied a variety of root cause analysis tools and methodologies and identified what he considered to be weaknesses in all of them. According to Gano, people often do not achieve real success with root cause analysis because they stop too soon (before reaching the real root cause), focus on placing blame, or fall victim to what he calls "the root cause myth."
He claims it is a fallacy to believe that there is one root cause for a given problem, and stresses that identification of a single root cause can only be accomplished in conjunction with selecting the type of solution for the problem. For example, the cause of a fire typically has several components, and depending on the situation only one of those may be identified as a root cause that must be or can be addressed.
Gano also feels that trying to categorize potential root causes is unhelpful, and can actually hinder project teams in their efforts to uncover true root causes and viable solutions. So his method of root cause analysis does not have a categorization component as does the fish bone method.
Rather, Apollo Root Cause Analysis focuses on identifying both conditions and actions that can lead to the problem outcome, and documenting evidence to confirm or deny each of them. This methodology takes into account the fact that a condition alone typically does not represent a cause, without the corresponding action that results from that condition and leads to the problem. Similarly, the action alone does not cause the problem unless the condition is also present. Ideally, improvement efforts should focus on eliminating the condition so that the related action never becomes a factor.
Learn more about Apollo Root Cause Analysis and see an example.
The RealityCharting software program can help project teams implement the Apollo Root Cause Analysis method, walking them through steps such as defining the problem, identifying potential causes, and documenting evidence.