How do we ensure we get the best information at all times, especially if our company is located over different time zones?

Global organisations find it increasingly more difficult to deal with decisions and investigations effectively, especially if some of the stakeholders and information sources are not in the same location. What do you do if you need to make a decision and one of your most important stakeholders is on the other side of the world?
Using a common approach and process towards problem solving will help individual stakeholders and information sources to participate and contribute remotely. The stakeholders would know what is expected from them and would also understand the requirements of the thinking process at any given stage.

The KEPNERandFOURIE Root Cause Analysis and problem solving processes consist of only four steps and each step is stand-alone and can be performed separately. The KEPNERandFOURIE thinking approach also uses various techniques and the remote contributor can easily provide inputs using the techniques learned. These tools and techniques are embedded in common Excel Spreadsheets that would be used by all.

Let’s take the example of having to find the technical cause of an incident and we are doing an exercise to eventually get to the root cause in our Problem Management department. The steps are:

1. Identify the Incident Statement – All the information sources understand the technique of having “one object” with “one fault” to describe an incident. The facilitator could get this set up with the incident or process owner, but any information source that has a better and more specific description would be able
to contribute that to the team.

2. Identify the Incident Detail – All the information sources know they will be looking at the five dimensions of a factor analysis of WHAT, WHO, WHERE, WHEN and UNIQUENESS and would be able to contribute effectively. Particular responsibilities could be identified to specific information sources that are tasked to provide the most accurate information relative to the questions they are
responsible for. All of this factual information could then be summarized by the facilitator and fed back to all information sources asking them to generate possible causes based on the information already collected.

3. Generate Possible Causes – Everyone is allowed to suggest causes as long as it is a causal statement that could explain how the fault could have occurred. This is recorded for all to see and would be used during the testing phase.

4. Testing and Verifying Technical Cause – All the participants in this exercise would know how to use the common template and the technique of how to ask the “test question”. They could therefore contribute individually and be managed collectively by the facilitator to arrive at the most probable cause that would to be verified through replication exercises to eventually establish the technical and root causes.

By using common tools and techniques the possible information sources at various remote locations would be able to contribute effectively. This is all based on the assumption that you have the time to perform this analysis.

If you are in a crisis situation, you might have to resort to a common time zone and through a videoconference, use a facilitator to then work through the investigation process in real time. This will allow the common process, tools and techniques to help the facilitator work through the investigation quicker and more effectively.

For more information on Thinking Dimensions or the KEPNERandFOURIE processes, please contact us on +44 (0)1279 652255.