8D root cause analysis constitutes the core of the problem identification and solving process. Brainstorm for possible causes, and analyze each cause as a possible root cause. This requires asking questions such as who, what, when, where, why, and how, ensuring that the discussions stay structured and focused on the situation or issue. Success depends on discussing with an open mind rather than going into the exercise with a possible solution already in mind.
Apply tools and techniques such as problem statements, “Is and Is Not” statements, 5 Why technique, or asking questions to identify cause-effect relationships, Failure Mode and Effects analysis using Cause and Effects or fishbone diagrams, Difference and Change Analysis and checklists or assessment questionnaires on each possible cause to determine whether such cause is the root cause of the issue. If so, apply the same techniques to identify possible solutions, and if not repeat the process with another possible cause.
The 8D approach serves the same purpose of Six Sigma and other problem solving disciplines, but has the advantage of not requiring extensive statistical application. Application of 8D helps the organization identify the root cause with consideration of cost, timing, effect on customers, and the impact on the organization.