Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology

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The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology is a 4-stage process that provides a new way of thinking and goes far beyond the traditional root cause analysis problem solving processes.

It facilitates the creation of a common reality, using input from all stakeholders to produce an evidence-based understanding of the problem and ensures your solutions address proven causes and prevents recurrence. It makes problem solving easy and gives those who have been trained the skills to solve real world problems faster, more efficiently and effectively at any time.


 "It is effective solutions we seek, not the root cause." 
- Dean L. Gano, Creator of the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology 

Ground Rules of the Apollo Root Cause Analysis process 

  • Fix the problem, do not place blame
  • Everyone contributes
  • Open dialouge, no judging
  • Not looking for the right answer, but the best solution 

1. Define the Problem

Understanding the true problem is imperative, as it will clarify exactly what information needs to be gathered during the root cause investigation. It also determines what your corrective actions will be and helps ensure that the solution you select to implement is the most effective one. The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology facilitates 'creating a common reality' in which everyone who participates agrees on the problem definition statement including the significance reflected by the consequences or impacts.  Outline the what, when, where, and significance (safety, environmental, cost, revenue, frequency, etc) with as much detail as possible. 



2. Determine the Causal Relationships

Consistently challenging cause and effect relationships allows you to think more critically and understand that problems are rarely as simple as they may seem. A guiding principle of the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology states that each effect has at least two causes in the forms of actions and conditions. Conditions exist over time, actions are motions or changes in state in relation to the incident. The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology demands an exhaustive search for both condition causes and action causes the guides the process in the form of a cause and effect chart known as a RealityChart. 


This is a simple causal process whereby one asks "why" of a defined problem, answers with at least two causes in the form of an action and condition, then asks "why" of each answer and continues asking "why" of each stated cause until there are no more answers. 


3. Identify Effective Solutions 

Solutions act on one or more causes in the cause-and-effect chain without regard for position, so the notion of one "root" cause or magic bullet at the end of the chain becomes meaningless. Any given problem has an infinite number of causes, which also means that there are an infinite number of possible solutions. The Apollo Root Cause Analysis method has established 'Solution Criteria' to uncover the best solutions. All causes must be examined to find a way to change them with a solution that is: 

  • Within your control
  • Prevents recurrence
  • Meets your goals and objectives
  • Does not cause other problems

This approach shows clear causal connections between your solution and the defined problem. All stakeholders can insert their causal relationships into the RealityChart, so that buy-in of the most effective solutions is readily attained. 


4. Implement and Track Solutions 

If after all the work of finding effective solutions we do not implement them and track them to verify their effectiveness, all our work is for naught, yet that is exactly what most organizations do. Success is not coming up with a good idea, it is bringing it to fruition in a way that provides the value. The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology facilitates creating a final report, assigning corrective actions, and tracking those actions to completion. 



Training in Root Cause Analysis 

We offer a variety of training courses in the Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology which can be delivered at your site, or trainees can attend one of the many public courses we hold in cities throughout the world. 


Book Public Root Cause Analysis Training In-House Root Cause Analysis Training


The Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology was created by Dean L. Gano and Apollonian Publications. ARMS Reliability are licensed to use and distribute Apollo Root Cause Analysis methodology materials.