New book: “Beyond the Five Whys: Root Cause Analysis and systems thinking,” published by Wiley in November 2023.
Over the past 10 years, I have been working increasingly on Root cause analysis with a number of clients. This work has resulted in a range of approaches which have proved to be powerful in ‘cracking’ many long-standing problems across a range of different contexts.
The results of these efforts are now encapsulated in this book in overview form which seeks to cover both root cause analysis techniques and ways of thinking systemically. To bring home key messages board members, senior executives, and a range of other colleagues (from public service, medicine, aviation, manufacturing, and internal audit) have been prepared to speak, often for the first time, about some of the subtle ways that you can do 90% of the right things and still end up with a big problem or set-back. The book also covers insights from a range of public inquiries, including 9/11, the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Grenfell Tower and going back to the two inquiries into the Titanic tragedy of 1912. As you will discover, neither the iceberg, nor the crew, nor the number of lifeboats were root causes for that tragedy.
The book is written for a general audience but includes Appendices covering the implementation of Root cause analysis in an organisation as well as guidance for audit professionals who want to get to the bottom of problems (whether these are significant, or just recurring minor setbacks).