The word analysis means to break down into parts. Failure analysis, problem analysis and root cause analysis all start with a problem which is then broken down into its parts. The parts of a problem are the causes. The more severe the incident the more detail that is added to the investigation.
A common mistake that organizations make in investigations is the tendency to categorize an entire incident into one cause. As an incident is broken down into detail, more and more causes are revealed. Understanding these detailed causes reveals additional ways that the problem could possibly be solved. As the causes get more specific the solutions also get more specific. Problems are not solved in general. Problems are solved when specific action is taken. “The devil is in the details.”