BD-301A: BlueDragon Root Cause Analysis Certification Course for Practitioners (Operating Environments)

DLE Technical Services, LLC
Training overview
Professional Course
3 days
Start dates
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South America
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Course description

BD-301A: BlueDragon Root Cause Analysis Certification Course for Practitioners (Operating Environments)

According to the World Economic Forum[1], the top two skills that humans need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution (i.e. the age of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence), are “Critical Thinking” and “Complex Problem Solving.”  BlueDragon is a complex problem solving method that is founded on developing the student’s critical thinking skills, coupled with innovative “Lean” and “Agile” tools and techniques that help to quickly and accurately identify the root causes and contributing factors that are causing human performance issues, equipment malfunctions and organizational and programmatic breakdowns.

BlueDragon is accurate, scalable, flexible, and efficient, providing a framework that drives a highly disciplined and organized approach to gathering and analyzing data, developing lines of inquiry and conducting rigorous causal analysis to identify root causes and contributing factors in the most efficient manner. BlueDragon cuts many man-weeks from traditional root cause analyses and accident investigations. The process is also structured to eliminate much of the bias and undue influence that often plagues such analyses, making for repeatable results, and can be easily scaled down to conduct apparent cause evaluations or simple causal analyses. BlueDragon can also be used proactively to identify root causes before they cause significant events.

BlueDragon was developed and refined by its creator after more than 30 years as a root cause practitioner in the commercial nuclear power industry and the Federal Government. The method is simple to understand (not simplistic by design), and the workshops demystify root cause analysis and clear up many misconceptions about how root causes are identified. The workshops are conducted using an MBA approach with 15 case studies to allow participants to develop proficiency using critical thinking tools and the Lean and Agile techniques of the BlueDragon Complex Problem Solving Engine. BlueDragon does not require the use of proprietary software, making it affordable and arguably the most cost-effective method on the market.

[1]Source: World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report, 2016; based on a survey of business leaders from major global employers. 

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Who should attend?

  • Management of all levels at Energy and DOD sites 
  • Department of Energy employees
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission employees
  • National Nuclear Security Organization employees 
  • Lean Six Sigma practitioners: Master Black Belts, Black Belts, Green Belts
  • Engineers
  • Scientists 
  • Operators
  • Root Cause & Apparent Cause Event investigators
  • Nuclear Safety and Management ​
  • ​Facility/Operations managers
  • Construction Safety and Management
  • Contractor Assurance personnel
  • Performance Assurance personnel
  • Corrective Action Program managers
  • Occurrence Reporting personnel
  • Safeguards & Security personnel
  • Quality & Oversight Dept. personnel
  • Environmental Health & Safety personnel
  • Regulatory & Stakeholder Interface personnel
  • Project Management professionals (27 credit hours)

Training content

BlueDragon workshops demystify key aspects of root cause analysis, including: why too often root cause analyses fall short; how the typical approach to root cause analyses inserts so much bias that the results are not repeatable; why organizations are reluctant to embark on root cause analysis; and, how root cause is seldom used proactively to identify the root causes of negative trends before they cause significant events.

BD-301 workshops are required training for certification as a Root Cause Practitioner. BlueDragon workshops are taught using a Harvard MBA approach: 15 case studies of increasing difficulty are presented, to allow participants to practice critical thinking and develop proficiency using the BlueDragon Complex Problem Solving Engine.

Our workshops do not require any proprietary software to buy.  We provide all of the templates for free at the end of the course.  We focus on developing your skills so you can start practicing what you learned the minute you leave the course, and arm you with the tools you need to succeed.  

Our participants have begun BlueDragon root cause analyses on issues with significant ramifications the day after they completed workshop. 

3-Day Workshop Content


  • The Importance of Root Cause Analysis
  • Regulations that Drive Root Cause Analysis
  • Introduction to Continuous Improvement
  • Standard Definitions
  • Common Types of Causal Factors
  • Standard Problem Solving Methods
  • Case Study #01: Joe Has an Accident

INTRODUCTION TO BlueDragon®         

  • Introduction to Critical Thinking
  • The BlueDragon® Root Cause Analysis Approach
  • The BlueDragon® Complex Problem Solving Engine
  • Data Analysis
  • Developing Lines of Inquiry
  • Socratic Questioning
  • Cause and Effect Relationships
  • Anatomy of a Root Cause and How We Find Them
  • Lean and Agile Concepts for Root Cause Analysis
  • Case Study #02: Joe Has an Accident – Part 2


  • Fact Finding Sessions
  • Event Time Lines
  • Case Study #03: Lines of Inquiry From Time Lines
  • Establishing Lean Root Cause Teams
  • Creating the Problem Statement
  • Continual Data Gathering & Processing
  • Gathering Documents & Record Reviews
  • Gathering References & Analyzing the Barriers
  • Case Study #04: Barrier Analysis
  • Replace Interviews With Facilitated Causal Analysis
  • Determining the Extent of Condition
  • Case Study #05: Joe vs. the Miter Saw

DATA ANALYSIS           

  • Affinity Diagrams
  • Case Study #06: Affinity Diagrams
  • Pareto Charts
  • Case Study #07: Pareto Charts
  • Process Mapping


  • Why is Anyone Still Using the Fishbone Diagram?
  • Case Study #8: The Babysitter
  • Fault Tree Analysis
  • Case Study #09: Fault Tree – Generator Did Not Start
  • Success Trees
  • Risk Trees
  • Case Study #10: Success Trees & Risk Trees
  • Event & Causal Factors (E&CF) Charts
  • Analyzing Human Performance & Culture
  • Case Study #11: Diagnosing Error Precursors
  • Diagnosing Organizational & Programmatic (O&P) Weaknesses
  • Case Study #12: Sally Falls off the Ladder


  • Root Causes vs. Apparent Causes
  • Identifying Root Causes
  • Validating Root Causes
  • Extent of Cause Reviews


  • Criteria for Effective Corrective Actions
  • Introduction to Mistake Proofing
  • Case Study #13: Mistake Proofing
  • Decision-Making Matrix
  • Case Study #14: Decision-Making Matrix
  • T-Matrix for Complex Problems and Solutions
  • Effectiveness Reviews


  • Typical Root Cause Report Outline
  • Communicating Results to Management
  • Management Oversight of RCAs
  • Communicating with Regulators


  • Standardization
  • Dissemination
  • Indoctrination
  • Celebration
  • Case Study #15 – RCA of an Incident at a HF Plant


Use of the DOE Causal Analysis Tree

Certification / Credits

Participants receive a Certificate of Completion:

       "BlueDragon Critical Thinking and Complex Problem Solving Workshop for Root Cause and Apparent Cause Practitioners"

Completion of this course also awards 27 PDUs for Project Management Professionals*.

*DLE Technical Services is a Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute since 2014.  

About DLE

DLE Technical Services

DLE Technical Services, LLC

DLE Technical Services, LLC was established in 2006 and is certified by VetBiz as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB).  DLE is a Prime Contractor for the Department of Energy (DOE), providing technical support to DOE nuclear project sites, Uranium...

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Average rating 5

Based on 318 reviews

Chris M.
It will be applied because it is an excellent technique. Liked the background given on personal experiences of instructor as well as the practicals forced us to think. Wish the course was longer believe it or not.
David H.
Liked the interaction and how streamlined it was. Good methodology - I am reviewing other popular causal courses. 45 minute lunch breaks were too short.
Aaron P.
Great course. Will add critical thinking to my investigations. I was previously stumbling on barrier analysis - this helped me out on this concept. Liked that the instructor was engaged and animated during the course.
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