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Failure Cause vs Root Cause

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A failure cause is the most direct and obvious cause of a failure.
A root cause is a fundamental, underlying or initiating cause of failure.

The Difference

A failure cause is the most direct reason that something failed. If an employee loses an unsecured laptop filled with confidential business data at a bar, the cause of the failure cause might be labeled human error.
A root cause requires analysis that looks at the fundamental reasons that a failure occurred. This considers deeper issues such as processes, systems, designs and chains of events. In the above example, a root cause might be that laptop wasn't properly encrypted or that policy didn't prevent the laptop from leaving a secure location.
Root cause is a broad concept. When different teams analyze the same incident, they often come up with different root causes. Nevertheless, addressing a root cause is often more effective at managing risks and improving things than focusing on failure cause.
Failure Cause vs Root Cause
Failure Cause
Root Cause
The most direct cause of a failure.
The fundamental issue or chain-of-events that leads to a failure.

Root Cause

This is the complete list of articles we have written about root cause.
Bugs & Defects
Cascading Failure
Data Corruption
Data Quality
Design Failure
Human Error
Human Error
Human Error
Knowledge Loss
Quality Control
Resistance To Change
Types Of Error
Unintended Consequences
Unmanaged Risk
More ...
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