The continuation of filling in the Prefilled Root Cause Analysis Map – part 2/10 – Too many tasks fall between the chairs

In today’s blog post we will start to look into the common symptom; “Too many tasks fall between the chairs”. This means that a task is not taken care of, and we start to ask why, why, why, to see which root cause(s) we end up with.

Asking why many times on “Too many tasks fall between the chairs” gives these four symptoms on the same level.

  • “People are part of too many chains of interactions”
    When people are part of too many chains of interactions, this will also finally induce in overload with the result of forgetting tasks, or misunderstanding of who should do the task due to stress.
  • Chinese whispers effect
  • “No one in the line feels responsible for the task”
    This is more likely to happen in the work within the line organisation with silos, depending on the hierarchy, which results in that no manager is feeling responsible for the task. Normally this kind of tasks require interactions between people in different units, within the silo on the same or different levels or with other silos, which is the land of no responsible in a line hierarchy. If it is happening in the projects or the teams, it is more of a miss in the planning (which always can happen due to variability), because the projects and teams are feeling responsible for the total delivery. This is an important distinction between the line organisation and the projects delivering the products and services.
  • “People juggle with too many tasks”
    This means that the people are too specialised forcing them to schedule between similar activities in different projects and this is resulting in overload and forgetting tasks will be the result. This is one part of the symptom “Time boxed (planned) activities, are queued to specialists* (bottle necks)” that we found in the series Organisational Clogging, so we will add them together in the presentation of the total Prefilled Root Cause Analysis Map.

If we put the symptoms achieved so far in a picture structured like the Prefilled Root Cause Analysis Map, it will look like this.


We continue to ask why, and if we do that on the two first symptoms above, we get symptom “Too long chains of interactions”, an old friend we encountered in the blog series about Organisational Clogging, giving us also the root cause.

Asking why on the symptom “No one in the line feels responsible for the task”, also give us the same root cause.

Finally, asking why on the symptom “People juggle with too many tasks”, will give us the root cause “Too few people are T-shaped”. A part of the Prefilled Root Cause Analysis Map with the chain of symptoms for “Too many tasks fall between the chairs look like this”:


This was all for this blog post, and in the next blog post in this series we continue with the symptom “Too much coordinating work”. C u then.

Leave a Reply