Join David Pultorak for an in-depth discussion in this video Where to use it, part of Putting ITIL® into Practice: Problem Management Techniques.
- [Voiceover] Use cause-effect analysis where you need to organize a problem space for complex problems with many possible causes or contributing factors to structure output from brainstorming sessions, and in a group setting, to get the whole team's knowledge about a problem on a single, structured page. There may be a whole slew of real causes, and other things that are contributing factors, but not necessarily causes, and still others that look like causes, but are not. Especially for complex problems, it's useful to have a way to parse causes into groups, weighing them, and providing a visual for analysis and discussion, and for methodically rooting out causes from non-causes.
This is what cause-effect analysis is ideally suited for. You might've conducted a brainstorming session, an output, for example, causes in the four idle categories of people, process, products, and partners. You might've brainstormed a problem statement using, for example, Kepner-Tregoe problem analysis. Why not take the outputs of these two efforts and put them into a cause and effect diagram, and display the problem and its causes graphically and neatly, for crisp communication? For complex problems, nothing beats teams wallowing together in analysis, building on each other's ideas and leveraging each other's strengths.
The key is the use of a shared, structured technique everyone can snap to, like cause and effect analysis. Getting causes and effects up on a single page, perhaps for the first time for all to see, is a spark for really getting a group handle on the problem, and a great vehicle for communicating it as well. In problem management, cause-effect analysis can be particularly effective in reactive situations, when a problem is live and negatively impacting the business. Use it here to quickly generate a structured picture of possible causes for a problem, and as a starting point from distinguishing symptoms and contributing factors from root causes.
In a problem review, after a problem's been resolved, it's important to quickly and thoroughly enough understand and agree on what went wrong, and how can we do better next time. Cause-effect analysis is ideal for sorting the what went wrong question as a basis for answering the how do we do better next time question.
- Ishikawa diagrams
- Kepner-Tregoe root cause analysis
- Fault tree analysis
- Component failure impact analysis
- Service outage analysis
- Post-implementation and major problem review
ITIL trainer David Pultorak outlines the what, why, where, and how of each technique, and provide examples so you can practice with the goal of placing each technique into "muscle memory." He examines the 4 Ps that can contribute to or help resolve every problem—people, processes, products, and partners—and provides tips on where to go next.
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Putting ITIL® Into Practice: Problem Management Techniques
2. Ishikawa Diagram
3. Kepner-Tregoe Root Cause Analysis
4. Fault Tree Analysis
5. Component Failure Impact Analysis
6. Service Outage Analysis
7. Post-Implementation and Major Problem Review
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