5 Whys

When something goes wrong in your process, how do you find out what caused it. One of the popular ways is to ask the 5 Whys.

The 5 Whys are how you can get to the route cause. The idea is to ask the first question, Why did this happen. Then you keep asking Why on each of the next questions until you can get no further, usually 5 gets you there.

So in the Cartoon above we could ask the following questions.

  • Q1:  Why did the Chicken cross the road?
  • A1:  To get to the other side
  • Q2:  Why did the Chicken want to get to the other side
  • A2: Because it was better there
  • Q3: Why was it better there
  • A3: Because there was no foxes there
  • Q4: Why was there no foxes there
  • A4: Because the Dog scared them off
  • Q5: Why was the chicken not afraid of the dog
  • A5: Because the dog was a farm dog trained to protect chickens.

Now we know why the chicken crossed the road.
OR Do it really need a reason as Gary suggests

Next time you have a problem causing something to break in a process. Try the 5 Whys and let me know how it works for you.

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