Organizational root causes

A root cause according to the Collins dictionary is; the fundamental reason for the occurrence of a problem. An organizational root cause, is therefore a root cause that is the fundamental reason of an organizational problem. This organizational root cause has therefore occurred due to deficiencies within the organizational way of working. Another way to put it is that a mal-functioning way of working has built-in organizational root causes.

But the question then is; how many organizational root causes do we have? Infinite? Many? A few?

In fact, we have the same number as our organizational principles, since an organizational root cause is nothing else then a non-fulfilled organizational principle, i.e., the existing science behind.

This means that any way of working that has not considered fulfilling these organizational principles, i.e., ignored science, most probably have many built-in root causes, which is in fact the case for many large-scale agile initiatives.

If we have organizational root causes, i.e., built-in deficiencies in our way of working, it automatically means that we will have organizational problems, in the beginning mostly invisible ones.

The more organizational root causes we have, the more organizational problems will occur short-term, as well as more and more will occur long-term. The longer cycles we have in our way of working, the longer time it can take until we understand that our way of working is mal-functioning. This means that for product development, with very long cycles from an idea until a completely new product is developed, it can take very long time until visible problems (both organizational or normal) occur.

Can we find the organizational root causes long before the organizational problems become visible?


This is another strength of the SPPA method, since it is a proactive method that can be used any time, and with a very low effort per occasion. By individually collecting all the problems within the organization, the problems can be connected to each other, as well down to the root causes.

For more detailed information, please see here about organizational root causes, how we can find them, as well as examples.