The 5 Whys is a simple problem-solving technique that helps users to get to the root of the problem quickly. Because it is so elementary in nature, it can be adapted quickly and applied to most any 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:
It helps to quickly determine the root cause of a problem
It is easy to learn and apply. Here i have shared 2 examples of 5 Whys execution.. read through

Example 1 of the 5 Whys in action:
Tailchi Ohno, the creator of the 5-Why technique, is quoted using the following example to demonstrate using 5-Why’s for root cause analysis:

1. “Why did the robot stop?”
The circuit has overloaded, causing a fuse to blow.

2. “Why is the circuit overloaded?”
There was insufficient lubrication on the bearings, so they locked up.

3. “Why was there insufficient lubrication on the bearings?”
The oil pump on the robot is not circulating sufficient oil.

4. “Why is the pump not circulating sufficient oil?”
The pump intake is clogged with metal shavings.

5. “Why is the intake clogged with metal shavings?”
Because there is no filter on the pump.

What do you think?
Is “NO FILTER ON THE PUMP” a root cause?

Example 2 of the 5 Whys in action:

1. Why is our client, Hinson Corp., unhappy? Because we did not deliver our services when we said we would.

2. Why were we unable to meet the agreed-upon timeline or schedule for delivery? The job took much longer than we thought it would.

3. Why did it take so much longer? Because we underestimated the complexity of the job.

4. Why did we underestimate the complexity of the job? Because we made a quick estimate of the time needed to complete it, and did not list the individual stages needed to complete the project.

5. Why didn't we do this? Because we were running behind on other projects. We clearly need to review our time estimation and specification procedures.

Remember: The emphasize is not on person or to blame, this would mean turning the Five Why's into the Five Who’s.

Below is a quick overview presentation of the 5 Whys.

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