Using Common Cause Analysis to provide clear guidance


The Director of Marketing at a branded products company was experiencing a rash of costly and embarrassing mistakes in the development and execution of product packaging. Within the last year, mistakes had been made on sixteen different projects, with costs of rework ranging between $1k and $35k per project. Guidance was needed to quickly identify where to put the focus to get things back on track.


Common Cause Analysis was used to map and prioritize the different contributory causes that collectively resulted in projects being problematic. In all, nine types of problems and fifteen independent causes were identified. As many as seven different causes were found to contribute to a specific problem’s occurrence.


In the span of less than a day, the necessary data was developed, analysis completed and recommendations presented. Clear guidance was given on the steps needed for improvement. The president of the company was so impressed with the speed of the analysis and usability of the results that he suggested that Common Cause Analysis be used by middle managers across the company.