Exercise: Five Whys

Dig deep into the actual reasons for a problem.

Back to Understand

Best to use when

Five whys should be used to get to the very root of a reasons for a problem. It also shows the relationships between several causes of the problem.

Instructions

01.

Write down a specific problem.

02.

Ask the team to individually write down why that is happening.

03.

Form a new problem from the answers the team gave.

04.

Repeat steps 2 and 3 four more times or as much as necessary.

05.

Analyze the results and form relationships between answers.

Examples

  • The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
  • Why? - The battery is dead. (first why)
  • Why? - The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
  • Why? - The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
  • Why? - The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
  • Why? - The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)
This site uses cookies to ensure you get the best web experience. You can learn more by visiting our privacy policy.