The purpose of Causal Analysis and Resolution (CAR) (CMMI-ACQ) is to identify causes of selected outcomes and take action to improve process performance.
Causal analysis and resolution improves quality and productivity by preventing the introduction of defects or problems and by identifying and appropriately incorporating the causes of superior process performance.
The Causal Analysis and Resolution process area involves the following activities:
- Identifying and analyzing causes of selected outcomes. The selected outcomes can represent defects and problems that can be prevented from happening in the future or successes that can be implemented in projects or the organization.
- Taking actions to complete the following:
- Remove causes and prevent the recurrence of those types of defects and problems in the future
- Proactively analyze data to identify potential problems and prevent them from occurring
- Incorporate the causes of successes into the process to improve future process performance
Reliance on detecting defects and problems after they have been introduced is not cost effective. It is more effective to prevent defects and problems by integrating Causal Analysis and Resolution activities into each phase of the project.
Since similar outcomes may have been previously encountered in other projects or in earlier phases or tasks of the current project, Causal Analysis and Resolution activities are mechanisms for communicating lessons learned among projects.
Types of outcomes encountered are analyzed to identify trends. Based on an understanding of the defined process and how it is implemented, root causes of these outcomes and future implications of them are determined.
Since it is impractical to perform causal analysis on all outcomes, targets are selected by tradeoffs on estimated investments and estimated returns of quality, productivity, and cycle time.
Measurement and analysis processes should already be in place. Existing defined measures can be used, though in some instances new measurement definitions, redefinitions, or clarified definitions may be needed to analyze the effects of a process change.
Causal Analysis and Resolution activities provide a mechanism for projects to evaluate their processes at the local level and look for improvements that can be implemented.
Causal Analysis and Resolution activities also include the evaluation of acquirer processes that interface with supplier processes as appropriate. A jointly performed causal analysis can lead to such improvement actions as the supplier improving its processes to more effectively execute in the context of the project or the acquirer improving its supplier interfaces.
When improvements are judged to be effective, the information is submitted to the organizational level for potential deployment in the organizational processes.
The specific practices of this process area apply to a process that is selected for quantitative management. Use of the specific practices of this process area can add value in other situations, but the results may not provide the same degree of impact to the organization’s quality and process performance objectives.