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Protecht Academy

Risk bow ties and root cause analysis.

Get to know the principles of bow tie analysis for understanding and documenting risk.

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In this course, David Tattam, Chief Research and Content Officer at Protecht, provides an introduction to the principles of bow tie analysis, leading into hands-on exercises in creating risk bow ties.

Bow tie and root cause analysis are the keys to the effective and proactive management of risk. Prevention is better than cure and prevention comes from managing risk at its source, the root causes. In addition, root cause analysis applied to incident management allows us to understand where things went wrong, to identify the issues and develop actions to remediate.

This course provides you with a detailed working knowledge of the risk bow tie analysis technique and its application in not only root cause analysis but in providing a wider and more intimate knowledge of your risks. Risk bow ties should be at the center of everything we do in risk management. 

The deep analysis of risk using risk bow tie will also be used to develop clear risk taxonomies and ensure risk descriptions are clear and consistent.


Course overview

In this course, you'll learn:

1. The case for bow tie analysis - what are its uses?

  • The value add of risk bow ties
  • Use cases for risk bow ties
  • Root cause analysis
  • Incident management
  • A picture of risk
  • A hub for integrating all risk information for comprehensive risk profiling


2. Nature and components of risk and bow tie analysis

  • Root causes
  • Risk events
  • Risk impacts/consequences
  • Failed processes
  • Defining inherent risk
  • The implications for risk definitions and risk taxonomies
  • Mapping controls to a risk bow tie


3. Various risk analysis techniques

  • Summary of similar risk analysis techniques in ISO 31010


4. A history of bow ties

  • Where did risk bow ties originate?
  • Popularization of risk bow ties


5. The principles of bow tie analysis

  • Breaking out the components of risk
  • Root cause analysis - the power of why?
  • Linking root cause to impact on objectives - asking "what next?"
  • The types of controls that can be applied to the risk bow tie


6. The methods of bow tie analysis

  • The barrier method
  • The comprehensive method
  • Skills for effective risk bow ties


7. The methods of root cause analysis

  • Common root causes
  • Using risk bow ties to analyse incidents
  • Key weaknesses to identify when conducting root cause analysis


8. Use cases for bow tie and root causes

  • Integrating into your ERM framework
  • Control assurance and controls assessment
  • Identification of risk metrics
  • Incident management
  • Issues and actions management
  • Compliance risk
  • Communicating and reporting


9. Who should use the techniques?

  • Everyone as a risk manager
  • Risk bow ties for boards


10. When should the techniques be used?

  • Cadence of risk management
  • Alignment with risk management processes
  • Tools to use to create risk bow ties


Course expectations

  • Watch 31 videos
  • Answer 14 knowledge questions
  • Complete 3 interactive bow ties
  • Answer 10 quiz questions



  • 3 hours 30 minutes of video content
  • 4-5 hours for the whole course



  • US$600 payable by credit card on registration


Next steps

You can purchase this course on-demand via Protecht Academy by credit card.

Please contact Protecht directly if you would like to discuss packages to implement this training across your organization. Bulk discounts are available and packages can be invoiced in your local currency.

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Our trainers

David Tattam

Chief Research and Content Officer

David Tattam is the Chief Research & Content Officer and co-founder of the Protecht Group. David's vision is to redefine the way the world thinks about risk and to develop risk management to its rightful place as being a key driver of value creation in each of Protecht's customers.

David is the driving force in taking Protecht's risk thinking to the frontiers of what is possible in risk management and to support the uplift of people risk capability through training and content.

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Michael Howell

Research and Content Lead

Michael Howell is Protecht's Research and Content Lead. He is passionate about the field of risk management and related disciplines, with a focus on helping organisations succeed using a ‘decisions eyes wide open’ approach.

Michael is a Certified Practicing Risk Manager whose curiosity drives his approach to challenge the status quo and look for innovative solutions.


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