It’s common to see people point fingers and play the blame game after a project fails. These blame games not only hurt the team members but also impact their morale as well. Is there a way to avoid these hurtful situations while focusing on improving process and identifying the failure’s root cause?
The answer to that question can be found with root cause analysis (RCA), which helps to divert attention from people to process improvement.
Typically, agile teams are recommended to do an RCA session in response to issues raised during retrospectives. Shamefully, many agile teams skip RCA and continue to struggle in a whirlwind of issues.
RCA is not rocket science—especially when we have such a simple tool as the five whys. Eric Ries has elaborated on RCA with some practical examples from his lean startup journey. Here’s an example of a simple Excel spreadsheet that shows how to conduct RCA using the five whys; you can download a ready-to-use spreadsheet here.
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Photo attribution: ThinkReliability