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This chapter describes some common pitfalls encountered in failure investigations and provides guidance to help engineers recognize processes and “quick fixes” that companies often try to substitute for failure analysis. It discusses three important skills and characteristics that a professional engineer must improve to conduct an effective and successful failure investigation, namely technical skills, communication skills, and technical integrity. The chapter also provides information on the additional basic tools available for failure investigation and root cause determination: the Kepner-Tregoe structured problem-solving method, PROACT software for root cause analysis developed by the Reliability Center, Inc., and other processes and methods developed by the Failsafe Network, Inc., and Shainin LLC.

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