Exception management and problem resolution practices are critical to technology management. The practice of correcting errors and fixing that which is broken restores technical, financial, and operational anomalies to a desirable business-as-usual state. Problem-fixing is essential.
The knowledge gained during a resolution event isn’t always put to full use, though. When resolution is achieved on one issue, on to the next is the typical course of action. The potential missed opportunity in each resolution event is gaining complete understanding of the root cause of the issue so that action can be taken to minimize issue reoccurrence. Examining issue resolution allows for process improvements that produce more efficient and effective results should issues reoccur.
Root cause analysis (RCA) and after action review (AAR) are diagnostic practices used to examine and discuss problems and problem resolution to specific issues. They create structure to thoroughly explore, learn, and improve. While these practices can be formal, the principles are scalable to every issue and offer valuable continuous improvement opportunities.
Implementing light-weight RCA and AAR practices is achieved by asking, documenting, and distributing answers to four key forensic questions. What specifically caused the issue? What could have been done to prevent the issue? What accelerated issue resolution? What hindered issue resolution? When these answers are known, informed actions can be taken to minimize issues and improve exception management and problem resolution practices. Improvements in these areas reduce technology management risk and improve operational efficiency.