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Professor BobEmiliani’sA4 Failure Analysis Method
Please do not delete any pages or make modifications without discussion with Prof Emiliani, as it may change things. Let’s collaborate to improve the A4 template and failure analysis process.
1.What:The A4 Failure Analysis Method is a structured method for identifyingthe root causesof major business and management failures.2. Who and When:First developed by Prof. Emiliani in the spring 2004 and first offered as a graduate-level business school course in the summer of2004, titled: "Failure Analysis of Management Decisions." Taught to graduate students and continuously improved through 2016 and beyond.3. Purpose:Understand and learn about complex business problems.Learn how to apply formal root cause analysis to business and management problems.Learn the types of errors commonly made by managers that contribute to flawed decision-making.Identify and understand the root causes of failure in management decision-making.Identifypractical countermeasures to prevent recurrence.4. Applicability:Any type of business, business process, leadership, management, product, or service failure.5. For Use By:Anyone at any level of the organization, preferably those who are more distant from the failure because they will analyze the datawith greater clarity and objectivity. It should be completed individually. The failure analysis team can the reconcile the results.6. Requirements:A4 Failure Analysis Template (Version 17)Required Reading- Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking,D.Q.McInerny, 2004, ISBN 0-8129-7115-9, pp. 102-129- “The Hidden Traps in Decision-Making,” J. Hammond et al.,Harvard Business Review, September-October 1998, pp. 47-58, Reprint No. 98505Optional Reading (books by Prof. Emiliani):-REAL LEAN, Volumes 1-6-Moving Forward Faster: The Mental Evolution from Fake Lean to REAL Lean-Practical Lean Leadership: A Strategic Leadership Guide for ExecutivesFailure data7. Intended Use:For good, not for evil; learning and improvement; to reduce the human and financial costs of failure; to avoid repeat errors that leadto failure; to avoid repeat failures; to improve leadership skills and capabilities; to improve management thinking and practice, to avoid doingcurrent or future harm to stakeholders.8. Results:Quality of failure analyses depend upon various factors including available data and skill of analysis. Bias in data or analysis will diminishthe validity of results.9. Limitations:Follow instructions (page 4) for best results. May or may not need to use other formal failure analysis methods to develop a morecomprehensive understanding of failures.10. Misuse:Punitive purposes such as: Blame people, departments, or companies; maintain the status quo; as a basis for litigation, or the like.11. Copyright:© Bob Emiliani, 2004-201612. License:Creative Commons + Attribution + Noncommercial +NoDerivatives(CC+By+NC+ND). Requirements for use:Author attribution, non-commercial use, no derivative works. Derivate works must be discussed with Prof. Bob Emiliani. Warranty:None. Use as-is and at your own risk. User responsible for any and all results. Results will vary (see items 7 through 10).14. Contact:Prof. Bob Emiliani, [email protected],
Background Information and Terms of Use
There are two approaches to gathering the data necessary for performing failure analyses:Reporting of failure using external sourcesReporting of failure using internal sourcesExternal Sources: Collect stories on a company or organizational failure and arrange them in publication date sequence. The failure can be for any company in any industry. Sources for stories should be articles fromThe Wall Street Journal,The New York Timesbusiness section,The Washington Postbusiness section,Fortune,Financial Times, etc. Save the articles as .pdf files or scan the paper copies into .pdf files. Combine all the stories into a single .pdf file, oldest story first to newest story last. It could contain a total of anywhere from 50 to 350 pages.Internal Sources: Pay an independent freelance newspaper reporter to interview people within and outside of the company and write a 50-350 page proprietary story about the failure in chronological order of events. Reporting should include quotes from various persons (names and positions can be changed). This will be the source material for the failure analysis. These failures must be analyzed objectively, even if the failure is a recent one that involved current leadership.Remember: Lean people don’t blame others for problems or worry about who is at fault. Instead, they focus on root causes and finding countermeasures for improvement.
Gathering Failure Data
Instructions for Performing Failure Analysis Using Worksheets 1-4•Carefully Follow Instructions•
Remember: Don’t blame people for problems or worry about who is at fault. Instead, focus on root causes and finding countermeasures for improvement.
This will become your first “Why?”





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