Using the Cause Mapping® Investigation Template: The Notes Worksheet

Becca Broaddus

An accurate, scientific incident investigation relies on evidence. Evidence is collected to validate cause-and-effect relationships and better understand what happened and why. Documenting, organizing and keeping track of evidence can be just as important as collecting the evidence. In the Cause Mapping Investigation Template in Microsoft Excel, the problem definition, analysis, documentation and evidence are all stored within one file for easier access and quick reference. In this blog, we’re focusing on one worksheet in particular: the Notes worksheet.

The 19-worksheet Cause Mapping Investigation Template in Microsoft Excel (which is free to download) was created to allow users to document, analyze and present their entire root cause analysis within one file using software you probably already have on your computer. Each worksheet has a specific purpose within the investigation and allows you to document the different parts of a complete incident investigation. Instead of a 100+ page report, this one file allows you to capture a basic, mid and detailed level analysis, along with all the evidence, photos, diagrams and drawings. Different policies and procedures, PDFs and PowerPoint slides can be housed within one file. Click here to see a video overview of recent updates to the template as well as how the template can be used for your complete incident investigations.

The Notes worksheet is part of the information tools and resource section that support the three basic problem-solving steps. It captures additional information that is important but doesn’t necessarily make sense to include on the other tabs. For example, this worksheet can house incident reports, witness statements, emails, relevant policies and procedures, as well as notes about information you may uncover as the investigation progresses. Think of it as the location for any miscellaneous information you collect.

Documenting, Organizing Evidence With Notes

Depending on the magnitude or severity of your investigation, you may have a lot of evidence to be stored here. If the worksheet becomes difficult to manage, organize or use effectively, you may need to separate out the information by topic or type of evidence. You can do so by copying the worksheet and renaming it to indicate what’s included. For example, you may decide to have a tab dedicated to witness statements or for the incident report. Using Microsoft Excel for your documentation allows you to adjust and customize the template to meet your organization’s specific needs.

To learn more about how to use the Cause Mapping Incident Template in Microsoft Excel, join our free 45-minute webinar “Excel Tips & Tricks for Using the Cause Mapping Template” this Friday, February 26. Don't worry if you can’t make it, register ahead of time, and we'll be sure to send you the recording after its conclusion.

For more in-depth instruction on using the Cause Mapping method on your incident investigations, register for one of our upcoming online short courses focused on mastering your skills in Microsoft Excel, including “How to Document Cause Mapping RCA Investigations” this Thursday, or one of our other investigation topics. See the full schedule of upcoming short courses here.

Click to download Cause Mapping Excel Template

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