Best root cause analysis software that you didn't know you had

Mark Galley

Advantages of using Microsoft Excel

There are many advantages to using Microsoft Excel as your root cause analysis software for documenting your entire investigations.  In this article we list the most common comments we receive from our clients regarding the software that we use for all of our facilitations.
1. No additional software to buy

Most people already have Excel software on their computers. Even Mac users typically have Excel. It can be used right now by simply opening the drawing tool and downloading our Cause Mapping template.

2. You can email and share files easily 

Because Microsoft Excel is so widely used, Cause Map files in Excel can easily be emailed to anyone else in the organization.

3. Excel is simple to use – once you know where the tools are 

The drawing tools within Excel are intuitive. Capturing a cause-and-effect relationship within Excel requires only a box and a connector. Boxes for causes, evidence, and solutions are already built within the Cause Mapping template. Users only have to copy an existing box to add detail.

4. You can document the details of a problem quickly

A cause-and-effect analysis can be built very quickly using the Cause Mapping template. When a facilitator learns both the shortcuts within Excel and the Cause Mapping facilitation method, documenting the details of a problem can be done very quickly. A person’s ability to facilitate an effective investigation is a valuable career skill.

5. Worksheets organize the entire investigation – All information is collected in one Excel file

The multiple worksheets with an Excel workbook allow each element of a comprehensive investigation to be captured on its own worksheet. A table of contents in the beginning of the Cause Mapping template organizes the entire investigation.

6. Excel is extremely flexible (unlimited capability)

The drawing tools in Excel and the structure of the workbook allow people an incredible amount of flexibility. There are literally an unlimited number of ways to explain the details of an incident using the Excel tools.

7. Excel manages photos easily

Photos can be added directly into Excel, which also has the ability to crop and size the pictures. Large photos can be compressed within Excel, and labels can be placed directly on the photos. People typically store photos in a separate folder; Excel allows all photos to be organized within the same Excel file.

8. Process Maps can be documented in the same file

Action items from an investigation are implemented within the work processes upstream of the problem. A detailed Process Map can be captured within the same Cause Mapping workbook. Excel makes it easy to collect information in one place.

9. Excel offers robust calculation capability

All of Excel’s spreadsheet functions are still available in the Cause Mapping workbook. Data files, pivot tables, and charts can be built within the Cause Mapping template to provide a more complete investigation.

10. Excel is compatible with other platforms

An Excel file can be attached to a record within SAP, an Oracle database, or other enterprise-wide software systems. The Cause Mapping template also works well with all web conferencing tools such as GoToMeeting, WebEx, Sametime, NetMeeting, etc.


Interested in learning how to better utilize the Cause Mapping Template in Excel? Check out our previously recorded webinar: Excel Tips & Tricks for Using the Cause Mapping Template

Register for Excel Tips & Tricks Webinar

Share This Post With A Friend


Similar Posts

Facilitate Better Investigations | Attend a Webinar