The "Five Whys" is a way to figure out what causes a problem. You keep asking "why" until you find the real reason. It was made up by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota.
The Five Whys technique is a useful tool for identifying the root cause of a problem. It can help teams get to the bottom of an issue quickly and efficiently, leading to more effective solutions that address the underlying cause rather than just treating symptoms. By asking "why" multiple times, you can uncover deeper insights and gain a better understanding of the factors at play. Additionally, using the Five Whys encourages a culture of continuous improvement and problem-solving within an organization.
Here's an example problem: the car won't start.
You can ask "why" up to five times (or more) to find the real reason for a problem. It's important to avoid guessing and follow the cause-and-effect chain to the root cause. In this example, the fifth "why" shows a problem with a process or behavior that needs to be fixed.
The five-whys approach is about finding the root cause of a problem. It's important to look for a process that's not working well or not there at all. Sometimes people will say the problem is not enough time, money, or resources. But we can't control those things. So, we should ask why the process failed instead of just asking why.
To use the 5 Whys:
Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Five Whys (5 Whys) practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.