1.23.2013

Process Problems -- Just Five Types?

I recently spoke with Kicab Castaneda-Mendez, who recently published a book titled What's Your Problem? Identifying and Solving the Five Types of Process Problems, about root cause analysis and his definitions of process problems. I asked him specifically: "How is reducing process problems to just five types a breakthrough in process improvement? What are the key benefits?" Here is his complete response:

Typically, root cause analysis is taught by explaining a variety of tools that requires users to gain considerable experience before being able to apply them correctly in the proper settings. To provide practice, tools are often taught without context which results in users not knowing when to apply them. A third common condition is when problem solving is taught as a sequence of expansions and contractions, specifically in finding root causes and solutions.

By reducing all process problems to just five types based on the cause, we eliminate the need to search for what the cause is. Since these specific causes can be addressed in time-proven ways, the search for solutions is also reduced. The result is that we can significantly simply process problem methodologies to a three-step procedure:

  • Identify the type of problem,
  • Find the root cause (where it occurs -- we know what it is), and
  • Address the root cause.
We benefit in several key areas: vastly simplified teaching, learning, applying, and mentoring. Because virtually every adult has solved these types of problems using the proven techniques, we can easily create lessons that build on this knowledge without burdensome language. With training time reduced by as much 50% to 80%, students can go through multiple cycles of practice on the three-step procedure on all problem types versus at most one cycle of other methodologies on one problem.

Isn’t that what process improvement is all about: increasing quality while reducing costs and time?

What do you think Kicab's methodology? Do you think all process problems can be reduced to just five types?