“We need to take an in-depth look at our process to determine how this managed to happen.”

English Lesson: We need to take an in-depth look at our process to determine how this managed to happen.

One of your employees made a big mistake that cost the company a lot of money to fix. You need to find out what caused the mistake so that it doesn't happen again, but you don't want to blame the employee personally. In a staff meeting. you say this.

We need to take an in-depth look at our process to determine how this managed to happen.

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take a look

The word "look" is very general. It can mean to look for a long time, a short time, carefully, absent-mindedly, or in many other ways. "Take a look" is more specific. It means to look at something for a short period, usually for a specific purpose.

You can ask someone to take a look at something that needs to be fixed, or for something that's important for them to see. Here's another example from a science classroom. The teacher tells the class to look at something in the textbook:

Everybody take a look at the picture on page 46. This is a model of what a strand of DNA looks like.

an in-depth (something)

Doing something "in-depth" means that you do it in a really careful and detailed way. Here are some things that you can do "in-depth":

  • write an in-depth explanation
  • listen to an in-depth description
  • conduct an in-depth scientific study

a process

A "process" is a repeatable series of steps or actions. For example, a doctor might have a specific "process" for doing a surgical operation.

Businesses often have processes for each of the different things that they do. Workers are supposed to "follow" the processes.

(something) managed to (do something)

People use the phrase "manage to ___" to talk about things that weren't likely, but happened anyway. In the example above, the boss doesn't understand why the mistake happened, so she asks how it "managed to happen".

Here's another example of using "managed to" to talk about doing something which wasn't likely:

But I've managed to do OK.

determine (something)

To "determine" something means to figure it out or make a decision about it. "Determine" is a formal word, so you can use it in situations like when describing legal decisions:

The judge determined that Medco was responsible for the patients' medical issues. They were required to pay a large settlement.

Or you can use it in a business setting:

Have they determined when the merger will take place?

After "determined", you can use a clause like in the previous examples, or a noun:

Once we've determined the cause of the outage, we'll send a full report.