Ten Barriers to Root Cause Analysis


These are 10 of the most common organizational or cultural barriers that Root Cause Analysis teams must contend with.  Effective Root Cause Analysis requires understanding these barriers and then preventing or overcoming them as they present themselves. 


  1. The problem is poorly or incorrectly defined.
  2. A systematic approach is not used.
  3. Investigations are stopped prematurely.
  4. Decisions are based on guesses, hunches or assumptions.
  5. An inadequate level of detail is employed.
  6. Interim containment fixes are sometimes allowed to become "permanent."
  7. The skills, knowledge and experience needed to uncover the root cause are not available.
  8. A lack of organizational will to tackle the "bigger" issues.
  9. Fear of being blamed.
  10. "I don't have the time."


If you want to know how to overcome each hurdle above, visit the following link:

For further reading, view the Failure Review Board Guidance Document, Root Cause Investigation (RCI) Best Practices Guide Product Overview, and the Root Cause Investigation (RCI) Best Practices Guide from the Mission Assurance Improvement Workshop. The Mission Assurance Improvement Workshop's (MAIW's) purpose is to enhance the government/industry mission assurance processes, supporting disciplines, and associate products collaboratively with indsutry and government teams.