What is it: The 5 Whys is a question asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Ultimately, the goal of applying the 5 Whys method is to determine a root cause of a defect or problem. By repeatedly asking the question "Why" (five is a good rule of thumb), you can peel away the layers of symptoms which can lead to the root cause of a problem. Very often the underlying reason for a problem will lead you to another question. Although this technique is called "5 Whys," you may find that you will need to ask the question more or less than five times before you find the root cause of the problem.
The 5 Whys method can be used on its own or in conjunction with a Fishbone (also known as the cause and effect or Ishikawa) diagram. The Fishbone diagram helps you explore all potential or real causes that result in a single defect or failure. Once all inputs are established on the fishbone, you can use the 5 Whys technique to drill down to the root causes. There can be more than one cause to a problem as well. In an organizational context, generally a 5 Whys root cause analysis is carried out by a team of persons related to the problem.
What is it used for: To tunnel into the process to find the root cause of the process problem
Why use it:
Where to use it: Can be used on any problem that requires the root cause to be identified.
When to use it:
How to use it:
The template package has been developed for the user to identify the three problem paths and root causes of a typical production 5 why analysis problem:
Once all factual data has been gathered and entered on the template, a corrective action plan is implemented, next to each of the root cause results.