Root Cause Challenge: The guy at the top ...

normzone

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#1
I'll wager we've all encountered this before. What do you do when the root cause is -

" Sometimes, the guy at the top gets what he wants " ?

In this case it was an unmeasureable quality objective, documented in internal audit and corrective action, that went all the way to external audit and was documented there again.

Is there a diplomatic way to phrase the root cause? All the appropriate standards were referenced but the QA manager's counsel was not accepted.

And if you referenced the true root cause, there's surely no diplomatic corrective action. :confused::(
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#2
I'll wager we've all encountered this before. What do you do when the root cause is -

" Sometimes, the guy at the top gets what he wants " ?

In this case it was an unmeasureable quality objective, documented in internal audit and corrective action, that went all the way to external audit and was documented there again.

Is there a diplomatic way to phrase the root cause? All the appropriate standards were referenced but the QA manager's counsel was not accepted.

And if you referenced the true root cause, there's surely no diplomatic corrective action. :confused::(
Using your own words:

Root cause: unmeasurable objectives.
Corrective action: using SMART* approach to objectives:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
That cliche': we audit the system, not the people, applies specially even when the problem is at the top.
 

normzone

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#3
Much thanks [Sydney]. I'm really reluctant to disagree with somebody who's trying to help me, but that's only restating the trigger incident. It would not withstand a "five whys" examination.

Granted, I may have to do that very thing, and hope my external auditor understands. He knows the story.

And the SMART tool is a great idea, thanks.
 

Golfman25

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#4
What was the "unmeasurable objective?" Maybe you can wordsmith it calling it a policy or something. As for RCA it is not worthwhile in this instance. As you said sometimes the guy at the top will make his own "rules." Assuming you had other measurable objectives, I don't see what the big deal is.

Edit: and root cause will be fine. It's the corrective action which will be the problem. :)
 

Sidney Vianna

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#5
Much thanks [Sydney]. I'm really reluctant to disagree with somebody who's trying to help me, but that's only restating the trigger incident. It would not withstand a "five whys" examination.
I understand your point of view, but, let's remember that 5-whys, 8D's or any other cause identification mechanism is NOT the goal. The goal is TRUE corrective action. There is no requirement that a 5-why investigation has to ask exactly 5 questions before you reach the root cause. Sometimes 1 insightful question does it. Sometimes, you have to ask 8 questions....

Cause analysis tools are meant to diagnose the real problem so the proper action can be put in place. It seems to me that, because you are close to the individual in question, you are inclined to identify him/her as the problem, but it seems to me that the real problem is the fact that s/he drove an objective that is not measurable. So, it seems to me that THIS is the real problem. Will s/he repeat the mistake? Maybe so, but if they are presented to the SMART technique, they might learn from it and drive better objectives to the organization.

Good luck.
 
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