Root Cause Analysis   – in product management

Assumptions, Marketing, Product Management, Sales

Most engineers and technical folks would understand Root Cause Analysis, RCA in short. People use various tools like the fish bone diagram that the Japanese developed or the 5 Whys to figure out the root cause

The root cause analysis as the name suggests, helps you get to the key constraint, the main reason , instead of just monitoring the effects. 

How that helps,  is that once you rectify that specific cause, the problems which are related to that cause would not surface again. It does not mean that no other problems will show up. It just means that you will then need to work on the next root cause and so on. In effect over a period of time your whole system will become better and better.

In operations,  manufacturing,  production,  there’s a  lot of numeric data which keeps coming in, which can be useful in running analytics and analyzing the causes.

In product management the analysis of root cause becomes a little more difficult. First, you generally end up doing RCA only when something has failed.  Which means there are already emotions running high with everyone from finance to sales to production looking to find the scape goat.

Second, marketing has a lot to do with markets, which means people – the buyers – are involved. When you have people involved the psychological aspects are also important. 

So when doing the root cause analysis of why a product did not make it in the market,  you need to ensure that even trivial things related to inputs of people are not missed.

These small subjective things can change your analysis to help you identify the key reasons why your product didn’t do as well as expected.  Sometimes you will come across multiple causes which all seem to be equally important.  Generally this means somewhere in the analysis there are assumptions which have not been substantiated clearly.

Once you have called out the assumptions then generally you will end up with only one or two causes. 

Once you handle those, chances are you will recover your sales again.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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