Unlike many other business methodologies, the five whys is a very loose methodology that relies on the experience and knowledge of the people involved in order to reach a satisfactory conclusion.Basically, using the 5 Why Analysis simply demands that you continue to ask ‘why?To better explain this concept and how it can work in practical application, let’s walk through a basic example that could be relevant to a number of businesses.
I PROMISE you will get to the bottom of a problem a lot quicker than if you don't use them. One Problem, One Head Draw a FISH head Like this: Write down the issue or problem statement in the FISH head. Decide if some of them need more investigation or whether you feel like you’ve found your root cause. Meet with important or relevant people to discuss your findings. When someone comes to you with a problem (or effect) First ask about the problem using 5 Why’s.
And I’ll show you exactly how I completed the cause and effect diagram right now. Or even if you don’t feel like you’ve fully completed your questioning. Which will form the basis of your visual Cause and Effect relationship analysis. Then develop a Fishbone diagram to list ALL the possible reasons (or causes) Then do some analysis Finally use the 5 why’s again to literally HIT the ACTUAL root cause.
Asking why the first time could result in the answer that this product is sold at a higher price point than the other similar products in the line.
That higher price point could obviously be a deterrent to sales, so the natural follow up question would be why is this product being sold at a higher price?
This product is similar to other products which are selling nicely, but it is underperforming and is costing the company money at this point.
So, at first blush, the immediate reaction might be to simply take the product off the market and cut losses.It stimulates the identification of deeper potential causes. You and its taking ‘X’ time to work around and its taking ‘X’ amount of resource and this is why…” At this point, the Business Analyst should be thinking, you haven’t actually told me why you’re having this huge problem! So our job is to finish this sentence from “and this is why…” That’s where these techniques come in and why they are possibly the most important tools in the toolbox. And thereby find the right solution for the right causes to the right problem. You can print it off and read it before a meeting to give you a bit of ‘Dutch courage’. I soon determined that the root cause was due to the information, which was available in the system.It helps you Drill down further when used together with 5 Why’s. 5 Why’s can be used any time by anyone, it’s simply how you structure your questions and we ALL ask questions at some point. To date, I’ve used the 5 why’s technique in at least 90% of the projects I’ve worked on. Because you can only get a full understanding of anything by asking why. The Japanese firm Toyota invented the technique and there are now hundreds of web pages describing the background to these techniques in great detail. When I was working on a project that was to improve a procurement management system. Yes - Give me better questioning techniques for FREE But anyway: As you can see as I dug further into the details, it became clearer and clearer where I needed to focus my investigation. Was not available on-screen at the right time of processing. A quick email to the IT department for them to configure the users screens and show the already-available info on the right screen at the right time – SIMPLES! A reduction of processing time of approximately 70% for over 95% of credit notes.When that is the case, you will start to notice that this same problem comes up over and over again – likely costing you time and money in each instance.Rather than dealing with the same problems over and over again, and making your business less efficient in the process, you should consider using the ‘5 Why Analysis’ technique in order to get down to the heart of the issue at hand.For example, some issues will only need to have the ‘why’ question asked two or three times before reaching a satisfactory solution, while other problems will require that you go six, seven, or even eight layers deep.This technique is often used in conjunction with the Drill Down Technique as part of a Root Cause Analysis.In this case, we only went through three levels of ‘whys’, and we were able to get down to the heart of the matter.It won’t always be that easy, but following the whys is usually going to lead to a solution at one point or another.It's used by improvement individuals OR teams to brainstorm and logically organise potential causes. So armed with my new information, I drew up a cause and effect diagram, organised a quick observation of the process and continued my quest.It helps you summarise potential high level causes. That’s why in the FREE bonus section I give you some pretty cool ways of getting the same information by using different Why strategies So if you don’t want to come across abrupt but still want to be hugely effective in your Q&A techniques then download the bonus section here. You might know that one of the key categories in cause and effect Fishbone Diagram is ‘Information’ (or lack of it).