Five Whys

Use the Five Whys form to determine the root cause of a problem by repeating the question "Why?".
The Five Whys answers the following questions.
  • What is a problem's root cause?
  • What are the relationships between different root causes?
  • How do we prevent the problem from happening again?


  1. Identify the specific problem.
  2. Ask why the problem occurs.
  3. Answer the first why question. If the answer is not the root cause, then ask why this cause occurs.
  4. Repeat this process for every cause until you have identified the real root cause. The real root cause should always point to a process that does not work well or does not exist.
  5. Take action on the answer to the final why, or the real root cause.

Five whys are not required, but generally sufficient. Each problem is different, so some problems may require more whys, while others may require less.

For more information, go to Add and complete a form.