C H A P T E R 6. EXPANDING THE CAUSE BASE FOR YOUR PROJECT

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In developing this book, I had to take a ‘‘middle-of-the-road’’ position with

regard to specific Cause Descriptions and then present a methodology or processes

for deviating from that position. That’s where you are right now.

You may well need to expand your cause database for any number of reasons.

Most likely, you are dealing with an area that wasn’t addressed in the creation

of the Search Tables or Cause Descriptions presented in Chapter 1. Perhaps you

are dealing with a product or service area such as health care or pharmaceuticals

or construction. While the basic precepts presented in Chapter 1 are appropriate

for most product and service areas, the specifics may well be different.

Expanding the cause database is fundamentally a problem-solving process.

As such, it follows the traditional problem-solving steps. While there is any

number of advocates of slightly different steps in the process, I find that Mary

Ellen Guffey’s1 five steps are typical. These are:

1. Identify the problem. The first step in reaching a solution is pinpointing

the problem area.

2. Gather information. Look for possible causes and solutions. Check files,

call suppliers, or brainstorm with fellow workers.

3. Evaluate the evidence. How accurate is the information gathered? Is it fact

or opinion?

4. Consider alternatives and implications. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages

of each alternative. What solution best serves your goals and

those of your organization?

5. Choose and implement the best alternative. Select an alternative and put

it into action. Then, follow through on your decision by monitoring the

results of implementing your plan.