A Plan to Provide Program Resources
Sometimes we get so used to managing without things that it becomes the way things are done. An astronaut giving a presentation at a conference I attended referred to this as “normalization of deviance.” In other words, we get so used to the way things are, that either right or wrong, they become the norm! Unfortunately, the obvious is many times ignored – because it is obvious. If you intend to have a sustainable Root Cause Analysis program, then there are things that must be done. People must be trained, reports must be written, analyses must be performed, and progress must be tracked and reported. Until a program becomes self-sustainable, it must continue to be driven.
This driving force comes from the top which was discussed in the previous post Characteristic 1 of an RCA Program, and the resources listed below. It is so easy to assume that the work for an initiative will just magically happen by itself. After all, you have good people at your facility, and they will do the right thing. Yes, they will, but weren’t they doing the right things before you added something to their plate? They thought they were, so without some helpful guidance, they may not tumble to the new initiative, or understand your dedication. The three major resources that are required are:
- Program Champion
- Trained investigators / facilitators
- Trained participants
Each of these functional positions must be allowed time to do that portion of the job that will allow the initiative to take off and become self-sustainable. They also must also be trained in what the overall goal of the program is, their individual responsibilities, time requirements and any other duties and requirements that go along with their function within the initiative.
The resourcing plan needs to include a time allotment for training for each of these resources. The program champion needs to have standard Root Cause analysis training, but beyond that, he/she needs to have some additional training to allow them to act as a program champion. Some additional facilitators’ training would be appropriate to assist the investigators with their work. It is easy to assume that everyone can facilitate a group, however, this is not true and there are many training opportunities for this. Team-building type of training is good to ensure that a cohesive group is established. Public speaking may be in order to eliminate delivery issues. Additional training in investigations depending on the experience level of the champion, and interviewing training may also be necessary. Most of us probably think that just talking to a witness will get you what you want, however you must be careful to not telegraph your expected output during an interview. It is important to recognize this and insure that the interview is not just a friendly chat. If you go in thinking this way, you will most likely come out without the information you require. When interviewing, it is important that you have a plan with a specific outcome in mind, so that when you are finished, you will have answers to your questions.
Your program Champion should be the one who investigators go to when they run into difficult situations such as Group Think, or perhaps equipment experts who will try to push through their ideas without true evidence. This discussion is to let the reader realize that just calling someone a program champion may or may not be the most effective way to make it happen. To keep with our theme of “a new way of thinking,” we may need to think differently to ensure they are trained properly and are effective in the new position.
Trained investigators/facilitators will be necessary to perform the investigations. They will not need the intensive or extensive training of the program champion. Obviously, they will need the same training in Root Cause Analysis as the champion, as commonality in systems will be a key to sustainability. The program champion can provide some training in some of the subjects mentioned above. This provides two benefits 1) the investigators learn new skills and are exposed to some of the concepts required to perform investigations, and 2) the best way to learn something is to try to teach it to someone else. By providing this overview, it will cement the learnings for the Program Champion, however it is still recommended that the bulk of the training be done by a qualified trainer in the program that is chosen.
Lastly, you will need trained participants. This may seem like an unnecessary item, but since this may be a new way of thinking, we should consider it. If a participant shows up to an investigation and doesn’t understand the terminology, what the process is about, or what the overall goal of the exercise is, then there will be lost time and perhaps even lost information while the participant is trying to figure out what is going on. One of the biggest issues for participants is wondering if there will be any repercussions/punitive measures from their input. This thought can be from the culture of the environment at the facility or could be just a fear of the unknown – especially if there is no communication or if the participants perceive they may have done something wrong. For these reasons, it is important for people who participate to have a basic minimum of training in the process and expected outcome of the analysis.
How much time will they need?
Now that we have identified and trained the resources, the plan needs to specify the expected amount of time that the resources will have available to perform the function. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? If the personnel were already doing a job will they continue to do that job? Will they be removed from that job and make this their full-time job? How many RCA’s are you expecting them to accomplish and of what type? What is your expected goal for the program – short-term savings or long-term cultural change?
These questions and others will influence the burden placed on the resources. Do not expect that all of this is free and your personnel will just adjust it into their current duties and responsibilities. They already have a full-time job, so unless you set expectations, move work around, change their priorities or add new resources, your program will struggle. So, take the time to identify how much time will be needed and who will do the work. That way you will have set in place a workable plan that will succeed and get you the ROI you are expecting
- Many programs start out with some training and a good idea, but no planning
- Some will keep going, without a resource plan, but the odds are against it
- Having a plan puts everyone on the same page with common goals and expectations
- Too many programs don’t recognize that time must be allotted to all who participateOther Articles in the series
Essential Characteristics of an RCA Program
Characteristics 1 of an RCA Program