Quality Management & Training


Root cause analysis (RCA) is one of many quality improvement approaches used to identify, understand and resolve any root causes of problems or incidents.  It is basically a problem solving technique.

RCA is a relatively new methodology that is continually evolving. Like most Quality Improvement approaches it is not magic; “there is no silver bullet”. It is the application in a different way of a series of well known, common sense techniques which used in a different combination can produce a systematic, quantified and documented approach to the identification, understanding and resolution of underlying causes of under achieved quality in organisations.

Below is a definition, which encapsulates the main points of this technique:

“An objective, thorough and disciplined methodology employed to determine the most probable underlying causes of problems and undesired events within an organisation with the aim of formulating and agreeing corrective actions to at least mitigate if not eliminate those causes and so produce significant long term performance improvement.”


To enable delegates to:

  • Understand and implement the “Root Cause Analysis methodology”
  • Understand and practically employ the basic techniques associated with Root Cause Analysis (RCA)
  • Identify where RCA can be used for best effect
  • Coordinate and motivate the RCA team to provide real, tangible solutions to what appears to be intractable quality problems.
  • Train others in the RCA methodology
  • Provide the opportunity to make real major financial saving through QM&T’s pre and post course supported assignment scheme.
  • Be QM&T validated and certificated Root Cause Analysis practitioner.

Reason for RCA:

  • A part of policy and goals of the organisation
  • Providing long term improvement
  • A powerful vehicle for training people
  • Analysing for root cause is a mind-set, it takes more time at first but is a ‘high return investment’ for eliminating fire fighting
  • A regulatory requirement. For example healthcare providers, are obliged to comply with Private and Voluntary Healthcare Regulations. Specifically Regulation 28 requires the notification of any serious events (this can range from death of a patient to allegation of misconduct). Regulation 28 will necessitate the completion of a Root Cause Analysis investigation.

The approaches are (included, but not restricted to):

  • 8D
  • Gemba Gembutsu
  • Plan, Do, Check, Act

Techniques covered (included, but not restricted to):

  • 5 Why’s
  • Cause and Effect Diagrams
  • Cause and Escape Point
  • Fault Tree Analysis
  • Nominal Group Technique
  • Pareto Analysis
  • Poka Yoke (Mistake Proofing)


  • Quality managers, Quality Engineers, Software, Food & Drug, etc. professionals who wish to apply the RCA model and methodology to problem solving together with obtaining a clear knowledge of RCA associated techniques and its application to continuous quality improvement.
  • Organisations wishing to move away from fire fighting to a problem elimination approach.
  • Organisations wishing to comply with the requirements of Clinical Negligence Schemes (CNST) and Risk Pool Schemes (RPST).


The RCA course is broken down into the natural RCA four-phase processes:

  •  Phase I: Problem identification
  •  Phase II: Problem description
  •  Phase III: Cause analysis
  •  Phase IV: Solution development

Together with presenting practice examples of RCA techniques and case studies


  1. Phase I: Problem identification: Understanding the strategies for fact gathering will include looking at customer complaints, interrogating the accounts including credit records, interviews, workshops etc. The objective is to gather as much information as possible on problems or quality deficiencies. Selection is carried out in the next phase.
  2. Phase II: Problem description: The criteria for including problems in the analysis needs to be fully understood. These will include the use of flowcharts, critical incident, spider charts, purpose and application matrices and problem understanding checklists.
  3. Phase III: Cause analysis: Cause analysis tools that may be used are histograms, Pareto charts, scatter charts, relations diagrams and affinity diagrams. Some but not all of these would be used according to their suitability in particular circumstances. Following this the cause and effect stage has been reached and the effects and therefore potential root causes can be identified, Tools for this are cause and effect charts, matrix diagrams and the “five whys” or the “why, why” chart.
  4. Phase IV: Solution development: Potential solutions need to be developed and presented for the decision makers and the comparative benefits and cost effectiveness of all prevention options shown.


  1. Practical case studies associated with RCA.
  2. Exercises associated with re-enforcing the morning’s RCA theory.

The following shows a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) overview – This was recently presented as a webinar in collaboration with the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI).


Course Options:

1. Pre-course visit to develop and adapt the course and associated material to suit the client’s needs.

2. Pre and post course delegate assignment with QM&T support. The delegate’s assignment / project would be fully assisted and supported online and assessed by one of our qualified and experienced staff. This work based assignment approach has regularly provided significant financial savings, reinforce lessons learnt and provided a practical demonstration of delegate competence.  This (on successful assignment completion) provides the delegates with a QM&T Practitioner certificate.  This approach is often useful where delegates may not (due to other pressures) be able to immediately apply the newly acquired knowledge.

3. Delegate assignment presentation provides the delegate with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievements to a selected group such as; CEO and Directors, key Managers and Supervisors, etc.  This gives the delegate the opportunity to credit and recognise their performance and motivate others to emulate.


See Training Courses for price list and order form