A Conundrum called Problem, Root Cause, Symptom and Solution


This is Venkadesh Narayanan from Fhyzics Business Consultants. The focus of this podcast is to understand and differentiate between problem, root cause, symptom and solution.

Problem is a package of root cause and symptoms. Between the root cause and symptoms there is a cause and effect relationship. Symptoms are the external manifestations of the root cause. The only purpose of symptoms is to let us know that there is an issue. As a business analyst when you interview the stakeholders, they will tell you only the symptoms. It is your responsibility to find out the root cause. The sum of root cause and symptoms makes a problem.

Business analysts recommend a solution to solve the problem. Solution is an approach that details how a given problem will be solved. So, as a business analyst you need to recommend a solution to address the root cause and not the symptoms. This is very important. You need to find a solution for the root cause and not for the symptoms. When you solve the root cause the symptoms will vanish on its own. Dealing with a symptom is equal to that of firefighting, you put out the fire in one place it flares up in another place.

In summary, business analysts need to develop solutions to address the root cause rather than symptoms. A project launched to solve a symptom will end with failure right from the beginning. Thank you.

Written by Venkadesh Narayanan

Venkadesh is a Mechanical Engineer and an MBA with 30 years of experience in the domains of supply chain management, business analysis, new product development, business plan and standard operating procedures. He is currently working as Principal Consultant at Fhyzics Business Consultants. He is also serving as President, PDMA-India (an Indian affiliate of PDMA, USA) and Recognised Instructor of APICS, USA and CIPS, UK. He is a former member of Indian Civil Services (IRAS). Fhyzics offers consulting, certification, and executive development programs in the domains of supply chain management, business analysis and new product development.

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