Answers the questions:
- What is a problem's root cause?
- What are the relationships between different root causes?
- What steps can we take to prevent the problem from happening again?
- The final why, or the real root cause, should always lead to an answer that the team can take action upon.
- The real root cause should always point to a process that does not work well or does not exist. People do not fail, processes do.
- Five whys are not required, but generally sufficient. Each problem is different, so some problems may require more whys, while others may require less.
- Identify the specific problem.
- Ask why the problem occurs. This is the first why.
- Answer the question. This is the cause for the first why, but is it the root cause? If not, then ask why this cause occurs.
- Repeat this process for every cause until you have identified the real root cause, which is something you can correct to prevent the problem from happening again.
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