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Our current blog series focuses on the Quality Assurance Centre of Excellence. Last week we covered the analytics aspect of a QA CofE. This week we want to focus on the root cause analysis.

Focused on Root Causes – This can be applied to both of the previous blogs. When it comes to being proactive, the Quality Assurance CoE could look at Root Causes of potential issues and plan around them or else they could look at Root Causes from their analysis and work to understand and solve them. Regardless of which way this is dealt with, the problem could be solved at different levels. We could be looking at Root Causes for software development and deployment or we could be looking at root causes that impact the entire organization (structure, culture, management).

There are two challenges that a Quality Assurance Specialist usually faces with respect to Root Cause Analysis:

  1. The Root Cause may be difficult to find.
  2. Once found, there may be resistance to fixing the Root Cause

An example of the first occurs when someone is supplying information to another group and in the process of supplying it the information is manipulated or reformatted in some way. The manipulation adds in an error which is not obvious. The next group uses the erroneous data to make decisions. The error is not large enough to cause major problems but it has an impact further along. No one notices the problem until much later. This makes the Root Cause difficult to find and difficult to correct since no one is recognizing the initial error.

The second is a much worse problem. The Root Cause has been identified and the solution created. Then there is resistance to making the required changes:

  • The problem may be outside your department.
  • Someone may have to admit they are wrong and have been wrong for years.
  • There may be costs attached to making the change and they will fall on someone else.

All of the above can lead to resistance to the change. Next week’s blog will address these.
Next week Process Focus