Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 697–701 | Cite as

Failure Analysis: Why Mistakes Are Made and How to Avoid Making One

  • David Burgess


A good starting point for this discussion is a typical generic definition of the term failure analysis offered by Wikipedia: “Failure analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing data to determine the cause of a failure.” Once the cause of failure is known, steps can be made to avoid subsequent failures by eliminating that cause.

It follows from the definition that to falsely identify an incorrect cause is the biggest failure analysis mistake possible. Corrective action focused in a wrong direction is doomed to be ineffective. No progress can be made until the mistake is realized and the correct cause is identified. The net result of a faulty analysis is negative, not a positive. Time is wasted as the problem grows and becomes more complicated.

Failure to identify any cause at all is not catastrophic, but without an accurate cause, precise corrective action is not likely. The best options available are loosely targeted and speculative.

The last few decades have...


Failure Mode Print Circuit Board Failure Analysis Corrective Action Excessive Current 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Selected References

  1. M. Horev Root Cause Analysis in Process-Based Industries, Trafford Publishing, 2008Google Scholar
  2. C. Kepner, B. Tregoe, The Rational Manager: A Systematic Approach to Problem Solving and Decision-Making (McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1965)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© ASM International. Reprinted with permission from Electronic Device Failure Analysis, 2014, 16(4), pp 4-12 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Accelerated AnalysisHalf Moon BayUSA

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