Root Cause Analysis Templates Blog Feature

10 Free Five Whys Root Cause Analysis Templates

Understanding the real cause of a problem is the only way you’re going to fix it. Sure, you can deal with the immediate consequences and patch up the problem, but you can only truly solve the issue at its root.

That’s the theory behind root cause analysis, and why the process is invaluable if you’re trying to troubleshoot.

Coming up with your own root cause analysis every time is tiring and leads to inconsistencies. Using a template gives you consistency and a quicker route forward. Follow along as we explore why a root cause analysis template is so valuable and which are the best ones to use in 2024.

What is a Root Cause Analysis Template?

Root cause analysis (RCA) helps you get to the root cause(s) of an issue, so you can work on fixing the real problem—instead of firefighting the consequences. Going through the RCA process allows you to dive deeper, consider all the potential options, and identify what’s really going wrong.

Then, you can take corrective action that solves the actual issue—instead of the symptoms.

A root cause analysis template gives you a way to speed up the process. These templates are created by experts and practitioners based on tried-and-tested methods, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Tracking and monitoring tasks, resources, and project progress in ClickUp Dashboard view
Tracking and monitoring tasks, resources, and project progress in the ClickUp Dashboard view

Instead, you can use a root cause analysis template inside your reporting tool of choice to shortcut your way toward solving the problem. ⚒️

Bonus: Storyboard templates!

What Makes a Good Root Cause Analysis Template?

There are lots of different root cause analysis tools and methodologies out there. Some people prefer a Pareto chart (or bar graph) to visualize their data points, while others prefer to use a Six Sigma flow chart or an Ishikawa diagram (or fishbone diagram) to represent their findings and research instead. 

Whether you’re a highly visual person or prefer a more text-based approach, there’s a root cause analysis template out there for you.

A good root cause analysis template will help you:

  • Use a tried-and-tested methodology to find the root cause
  • Organize your thoughts, data, and research
  • Come to a conclusion about the likely root cause of a problem
  • Streamline your RCA workflow
  • Achieve consistency across all your RCAs

There’s no absolute best root cause analysis method or template. Different teams will appreciate a different journey toward finding the underlying issue. Some templates are generic and can be used for different problems, while others are more specific—for example, for solving an IT issue.

The trick is to find the right template for your team and your needs.

10 Root Cause Analysis Templates to Use in 2024

Let’s explore our top list of root cause analysis templates for 2024. However you like to work and whatever type of problem you’re trying to solve, there’s a root cause analysis template here for you.

1. ClickUp Root Cause Analysis Template

ClickUp Root Cause Analysis Templates
Get to the root of the problem by asking the 5 whys 

When you’re problem-solving, having a clear view of everything you know about what contributed to the end result is essential. That’s why the Root Cause Analysis Template by ClickUp makes the top of our list.

This root cause analysis template gives you a broad view of your problem-solving work-in-progress but also lets you dive deeper to explore individual tasks, notes, and reasons. The list view helps you see at a glance which issues are incoming, in progress, or resolved, with priority flags that allow you to identify what’s most important.

Using the 5 whys as a basis for helping you identify the underlying cause, this template is easy to use whether you’re a project management expert or new to the idea of running RCAs. Color-coded sections and custom fields allow you to personalize the list to make it bespoke to your needs. 🤩

Use this template to help you create a central hub for all your root cause analyses. With space to add a department and assignees, it’s ideal to use as your company-wide approach to problem-solving.

2. ClickUp IT Root Cause Analysis Template

ClickUp IT Root Cause Analysis Templates
Problem-solve your way out of IT challenges in a clear and organized way

For teams working in software development and IT, the IT Root Cause Analysis Template by ClickUp is a great option. It’s designed with software teams in mind and has custom fields that help you explore the root cause so you can troubleshoot effectively.

The template uses two RCA methodologies to help you discover the underlying cause. The why-why analysis encourages you to dive deep to uncover the root cause, and the 6Ms approach helps you categorize the type of problem you’re solving.

Within the root cause analysis template, there’s room to assign multiple roles, so you can identify the encoder, analyzer, and reviewer in the process. Record the issue date and the current status. You then move into the 5 whys process, followed by space for a proposed solution.

This template is a great choice for IT teams that need a more personalized solution to use alongside their bug report templates. While ClickUp is highly customizable by nature, this engineering template has everything you need right from the start. 💻

3. ClickUp 5 Whys Template

ClickUp 5 Whys Whiteboard Template
Use the 5 whys to help you find the answer in a more visual way

Lists work well for some people, but for others, a more visual approach is the way forward. If that’s you, then the 5 Whys Template by ClickUp could be the ideal way to help you discover the root cause. 🌱

This brightly colored, highly visual root cause analysis template uses the 5 whys approach to get to the real cause of the problem, so you can solve it in a more effective way. The template and the methodology are simple—ask “why?” five times, write your notes in the cards, and come to a conclusion.

Use this root cause analysis process template when you favor a whiteboard approach—especially if you’re collaborating with others on problem-solving and cause analysis issues. The template may look simple, but often it’s all you need to find your answer.

Bonus: Problem statement templates!

4. ClickUp Cause & Effect Whiteboard Template

Root Cause Analysis Templates: ClickUp Cause & Effect Whiteboard Template
Use brainstorming techniques to help you find the root of the problem

Before you can identify the root cause, you first need to explore all of the potential problems along the way. This Cause & Effect Whiteboard Template by ClickUp gives you a highly interactive way to do this.

The cause-and-effect diagram approach allows you to explore potential causes while keeping the symptom or issue front and center. Add boxes to highlight main causes, then add to the flowchart to consider possible causes a level below these. Once you’ve completed your diagram, you’ll have lots of potential contributing factors to consider—and one that might stand out as the root cause.

This effective root cause analysis template is a good choice if you need a way to brainstorm potential causes in a visual way while still using the 5 whys technique. It’s similar in style to process mapping tools, so is a great option if that’s what your team is used to. 

The whiteboard format is ideal for problem-solving and quickly noting down ideas with others in real-time or asynchronously, then arranging them into a more clear and concise diagram. 🎯

5. ClickUp Performance Improvement Action Plan Template

ClickUp Change Management Action Plan Template
Keep track of tasks as you’re problem-solving with this action plan template

Finding the root cause isn’t an instant process. It takes time and involves a collection of different research tasks, with deadlines, complexities, and due dates. Record your progress along the way with the help of this Performance Improvement Action Plan Template by ClickUp.

The goal of this template is to help you stay organized as you go through the 5 whys process or after you’ve identified the root cause. Record your program name and who the project manager is, then see a list of relevant tasks assigned to the project. Add an assignee, status, due date, task complexity, start date, and department.

Use this template to aid you as you work through your RCA process or alternatively, as a way to stay on track with any tasks you identify as a result of your root cause analysis report. It’s a helpful way to stay organized and focused on your tasks and goals. 🙌

6. ClickUp Time Analysis Template

ClickUp Time Analysis Template
Monitor progress as you take steps to fix problems and discover underlying causes

Once you’ve identified a root cause, the issue doesn’t stop automatically. You’ll need to monitor progress over time to make sure it’s resolved. Track troublesome production tasks with this Time Analysis Template by ClickUp.

See at a glance what your team’s productivity levels look like, and check where the bottlenecks are. See which tasks need action, are already in progress, or are complete. 

Color code your products, departments, the root cause of the problem, and production lines to quickly monitor progress. Record start and due dates, number of workers, worker costs, and idle time. ⌚

This 5-whys-inspired root-cause template is a great addition to your library if your teams are regularly working on production and shipping—whether for a physical or digital product. Use this alongside your incident management software to monitor idle time and act more strategically in response to issues.

7. ClickUp Lessons Learned Template

Root Cause Analysis Templates: ClickUp Project Management Lessons Learned Template
Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your wins with the Lessons Learned template

In a busy environment, ending a project means you’re straight onto the next one—and you can miss opportunities to spot ongoing problems. Use the Lessons Learned Template by ClickUp to review your project in detail for both positive and negative outcomes.

This list-style template gives your project team and your project control manager space to explore lessons learned throughout your project. Share a concern or highlight, and add a detailed description, an assignee, a priority flag, and a due date. Record whether you’ve reviewed the concern or not and the impact it had on the project.

Use the Lessons Learned Template as part of your post-project workflow alongside a 5 whys analysis to identify potential future challenges and proactively work on fixing them. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate what went well on your project, so you can take those positive habits with you into your next one. 🌻

8. ClickUp 4Ls Retro Template

Root Cause Analysis Templates: ClickUp 4Ls Retro Template
Gather insights from across your team to understand what happened

Another impactful way to measure how your project went is with a 4Ls retrospective. Use this 4Ls Retrospective Template by ClickUp to encourage your team members to share their honest thoughts about the project, in a clear and concise way.

The 4Ls process encourages you to share what you loved, longed for, loathed, and learned about different milestones and key project moments. The template helps you record these in an organized way, with helpful guidance for team members on how to use it.

This project retrospective tool is an ideal way to capture thoughts and feelings from every member of your project team, alongside a 5 whys analysis. Their feedback can help you gain valuable insights that might not have otherwise come up at a traditional retrospective meeting. ✨

9. ClickUp Project Retrospective Template

ClickUp Project Retrospective Template
Run project retrospectives in a more engaging way

Project retrospectives are a useful way to understand what went well and what didn’t, but the information isn’t always recorded or acted on. The Project Retrospective Template by ClickUp gives you a fresh new way to approach your project retros, with tasks that you can assign and monitor progress on. ⚒️

This 5-whys-inspired template takes a traditional project retro and makes it feel organized and engaging, thanks to its colorful board-style approach. Record what went well, what didn’t, your lessons learned, alternative solutions, and clarifications all in one space. 

Add tasks and subtasks below, and assign these to individuals to own. Add due dates, related areas, and responsible teams to keep your feedback organized and meaningful.

Use this template as a more engaging way to record your thoughts when you host a project retrospective. Encourage everyone to contribute directly to the board, or use it as a place to organize any thoughts that were raised at your project retro meeting.

10. Excel Root Cause Analysis Template

Excel Root Cause Analysis Template
Track your RCA findings with this simple spreadsheet

ClickUp is free to use and comes with a huge collection of root cause analysis templates, but sometimes your team isn’t ready to make the switch or you’ve been asked to find a software-specific solution. In that case, this 5-whys-inspired Excel root cause analysis template is the best option we’ve found.

The simple root cause analysis template allows you to record the issue, root cause, and potential effective solutions in detail. There’s plenty of space to add descriptions, priorities, mitigations, and results.

If you’re limited to using Excel, this is a good option as it gives you a central place to record your root causes and possible solutions for all projects. The table format works well if you prefer a less visual approach to business process improvement and simply want to record information to then use in a root cause analysis report for stakeholders. 📚

How to Perform a Root Cause Analysis

Now that you have a selection of root cause analysis templates to choose from, you’re probably wondering how to put them into practice.

Here are the basic steps for performing a root cause analysis using any of the above templates:

  1. Define the problem or issue: Clearly articulate what issue you’re trying to solve and why it’s important.
  2. Gather data and information: Collect as much information as possible, from different sources and perspectives.
  3. Identify the immediate cause: Use your data and information to determine what triggered the problem or issue.
  4. Ask “why?” five times: Once you have identified the immediate cause, use the 5 whys technique to dig deeper and get to the root cause of the problem.
  5. Use a root cause analysis template: Choose one of the above templates that best fits your needs and fill it out with your findings.
  6. Brainstorm potential solutions: With the root cause identified, brainstorm possible solutions to address it.
  7. Implement and monitor solutions: Put your chosen solution into action and keep track of its effectiveness over time.

Save Time With These Free Root Cause Analysis Templates

Understanding the root cause of a problem takes time, and it’s often an investigative team effort to do it successfully. Use these root cause analysis examples and templates to help you save time and energy, and get to the underlying cause faster.

Most of the templates featured here exist inside ClickUp—the ultimate productivity hub for teams and companies. Our platform gives you one central place for your tasks, dashboards, goals, docs, chat, whiteboards, and more. Try ClickUp for free today, and find a better way to not only record your RCAs but organize your entire work life.

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