When to Use
Look: Construct a dialog that
interrogates the logic of a position, allowing you the means for deconstructing
group perceptions, surface underlying assumptions and issues.
How to Use It?
Convene a group of willing participants;
Write the perceived problem on flipchart paper for all participants to see;
Ask participants why the problem exists;
Repeat by asking “why” until a plausible root cause surfaces
Make sure there is shared understanding regarding what the “root” cause is,
and potential resolutions for this problem.
5-whys is a flexible tool that can
be used with a number of different audiences including large plenary
discussions, or small-break-out groups. The tool is best used when participants
have detailed knowledge regarding a particular issue or problem.
5-whys is usually completed in a short period of time,
approximately 30 minutes-1 hour.
Components are being delivered
late to our customers.
Why were we unable to meet the
agreed-upon timeline or schedule for delivery? The job took much longer than
we thought it would.
Why did it take so
much longer? Because we under estimated the complexity of the job.
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.
Why didn't we do this?
Because we were running behind on other projects.
Why 5 and Root Cause
Why are we
running behind on other projects? We do not allow enough manufacturing/lead
time when issuing quotations to our clients.
Louie C.K.: Daughter
Whys Guide and Template
Whys: Getting to the Root Cause of a Problem
5 Whys: Harvard
Evaluation: The Five-Whys Method