How to use the 5 Whys technique,
with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
The 5 Whys is a simple problem-solving technique that helps you to get to the root of a problem quickly. Made popular in the 1970s by the Toyota Production System, the 5 Whys strategy involves looking at any problem and asking: "Why?" and "What caused this problem?"
Very often, the answer to the first "why" will prompt another "why" and the answer to the second "why" will prompt another and so on; hence the name the 5 Whys strategy.
Benefits of the 5 Whys include:
When you're looking to solve a problem, start at the end result and work backward (toward the root cause), continually asking: "Why?" You'll need to repeat this over and over until the root cause of the problem becomes apparent.
The 5 Whys technique is a simple technique that can help you quickly get to the root of a problem. But that is all it is, and the more complex things get, the more likely it is to lead you down a false trail. If it doesn't quickly give you an answer that's obviously right, then you may need to use a more sophisticated problem solving technique such as Root Cause Analysis or Cause and Effect Analysis .
In this example, the problem is that your client, Hinson Corp., is unhappy. Using the 5 Whys, you go through the following steps to get to the cause of the problem:
The 5 Whys strategy is an easy and often-effective tool for uncovering the root of a problem. Because it's simple, you can adapt it quickly and apply it to almost any problem.
Bear in mind, however, that if it doesn't prompt an intuitive answer, you may need to apply other problem-solving techniques.
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