The 5 x Why Method (The 5 Whys)

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The 5 x Why Method (The 5 Whys)
Ger de Waard, Management Consultant, Netherlands, SIG Leader
The "5 x why" method has been developed by Toyota to perform an iterative Root Cause Analysis of production-related problems. The "5 x why" method is one of the available tools for performing a root-cause analysis. Its simple design and effective output made the 5 x why method also into a popular method used in Kaizen, Lean Production, Six Sigma, Value Stream Analysis, etc.

  • IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM for which the root cause has to be identified.
  • ASK: WHY has this problem arisen? The result is a reply with a new or different problem.
  • KEEP ASKING: WHY? Take the first answer (or problem) and reformulate the question: Where has this issue has arisen? Repeat thes...Sign up

Our Endorsement to the 5 Whys
Ashok Kella, Manager, India, Member
Yes, recently, in a complex issue dissecting in our organisation, unaware of the 5 Whys theory, we solved the issue to rescue and move towards the goa...Sign up

Better, but not 'root'
David Week, Director, Australia, Member
Five Whys is a great way to get better answers, but I think that’s it's a problem to call the result THE "root" cause—especially for Western-trained m...Sign up

Back to Fundamental Thinking
Ivan Kohlinsky, Management Consultant, United Kingdom, Member
Excuse me, but I am asking myself WHY is this method thought of as new, useful and fundamental, as it is. This method along with such methods as PABLA...Sign up

5-W in Combination with Impact Measurement
Schoenborn, Management Consultant, Germany, Member
I agree with @David that 5-W is a good approach for root-cause-analysis, but you should be aware that there could b...Sign up

5 Times Why - the Emperor's New Clothes
Wulf-Dieter Krueger, Teacher, Thailand, Member
Watch your children asking this question again and until they are satisfied with the answer.
This method is no rocket science. However, adults in...Sign up

Root Cause by Conscious Approach
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
A rational approach is certainly a way to get clarity, however could there be other ways also? For example, what if a person has worked on his inner t...Sign up

5 x WHY’S is not Enough for Me
David Torres, Manager, Mexico, Member
I took an 8D’s course and the homework was to take a real actual client customer complaint, so my team and I started working on it. Even if I had all ...Sign up

I Prefer the Following Name for this Tool: Why-Why Analysis
Johnny Michael Tan, Management Consultant, Malaysia, Member
I want to share that when my Semiconductor manufacturing site was pursuing Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) we were introduced to this tool by our J...Sign up

Tools According to Problem Complexity
Rodolfo Dionisi, Argentina, Member
Remember that the first step to solve a problem (or to be more precise, to have reasonable chances of success) is to DEFINE THE PROBLEM AND ITS COMPLE...Sign up

Role of Biases in Determining the 5 Whys
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
The 5 Whys as a tool is available for long and is available everywhere. Why is it not effective as it should be in developing nations? And even in dev...Sign up

1 WHY is Enough Sometimes
Mireille.durin, HR Consultant, Belgium, Member
@Srinivas: There is always a WHY... Why this situation, why this conflict, why this feeling... But if you are clear...Sign up

5 Why is Excellent Tool to Start and Get Back to the Basics
Pedro Monteiro, Manager, Portugal, Member
5 Whys is one of the best, simple and effective problem solving tools.
Is it not enough?! Yes, sometimes it isn’t, but as a first approach to a p...Sign up

Preparing for Usage of 5 Whys
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Before we use the 5 Whys is it possible and useful to try to reduce any biases by preparing at different levels of human personality?
What if suc...Sign up

You Can Use 1 Why or 5 Whys or Multiple Whys
Not all people can solve a particular problem with just one "why".
And not all problems, even how knowledgeable or experienced you think you are,...Sign up

Change 5 Why into Why-why Analysis
Ashok Kella, Manager, India, Member
@Johnny Michael Tan: I agree with you that "Five" is symbolic; the introducer has intended to make you ask why agai...Sign up

Back to Fundamental Thinking
Dietmar W. Sokowski, Consultant, United States, Member
@Ivan Kohlinsky: Good point Ivan. Your comment is ever so true. Similarly, the 7-Ws have been around for a long, lo...Sign up

A Tip for this Fundamental Why-Why Technique
Sudheendra G. Mudikeri, Management Consultant, India, Member
No matter how many WHYs are used, this tool has withstood the test of time as an effective one for ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS.
When I speak about this t...Sign up

Why? or: What For?
Olaf de Hemmer, Business Consultant, France, Member
I agree with pointing out that 'root cause' is helpful in solving certain problems. Causality is at the heart of the 'cartesian' way of thinking, the ...Sign up

Even a Single 'why' Can Suffice, Without Overtly Asking 'Why'
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
Those of you working in production/operations might have come across this situation several times, and resolved the problem 'hitting' at the very 'roo...Sign up

5 Why is not Japanese
Miguel Sacramento, Business Consultant, Brazil, Member
@Wulf-Dieter Krueger: Yes. Every children has a "multiple why device" already built-in....Sign up

Find the Most Cost-Effective Solution after 5 Whys
Bevis Qiu, China, Member
Different solutions can be found through different Why questions. I think we might then compare the costs of them in order to arrive at the most effic...Sign up

Children Ask Why? Meaning what For?
Olaf de Hemmer, Business Consultant, France, Member
@Wulf-Dieter Krueger: Are chidren not more interested in understanding the meaning / purpose of things (what for?) ...Sign up

5 Why is not Japanese
Miguel Sacramento, Business Consultant, Brazil, Member
@Olaf de Hemmer: Sometimes yes. It depends on each case. For instance, "Why are you prohibiting this?" and "Why did...Sign up

Children Asking Why
Wulf-Dieter Krueger, Teacher, Thailand, Member
Children ask why for the same reason as anybody else in management or in a company: there is a problem at hand, because something is not being underst...Sign up

5 WHY Methodology is Advanced
FASESIN David, Manager, Nigeria, Member
The 5 WHY methodology for problem solving is more advanced than the perspectives of some others discussing it. Conducting 5 Why to solve problems in a...Sign up

Advanced 5 WHY Methodology
Ashok Kella, Manager, India, Member
@FASESIN David: The effectiveness of Why-Why has been evaluated in combination with GEMBA, GSTD and OPL along with ...Sign up

Organisation Service or Product Delivery - Human Analogy-Root Cause
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
When we considering an organization as a living being, then there is always a relation to the mind, irrespective of the problem that a particular orga...Sign up

Ask as Many Whys as Necessary
jorge anibal hoyos hoyos, Manager, Colombia, Member
When talking about WHYS I also recall my kids when they were young asking all the time "WHY PA?" I think there is no mandatory quantity of WHYS; one s...Sign up

Conscious Approach
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
We have expert systems which are currently under development which use artificial intelligence and feedback loop mechanisms. To me they will be capabl...Sign up

Methods of Iterative Root Cause Analysis
We have a lot of tools available in the past and at present to solve problems. This includes the use of “5 Why’s or “The Multiple why’s”. Perhaps one ...Sign up

My Important Experience with 5 Whys
Lee, Youngki, Consultant, Korea (South), Member
I engaged a company in a training meeting with employees. They raised a major concern that the current company was facing. It was a challenge of a dif...Sign up

Delegation of All Rationally Viable Methods
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
If all rational methods including why why approach which can be automated and performance is better then is it not a better way to realize the human p...Sign up

AI and Causes / Goals
Olaf de Hemmer, Business Consultant, France, Member
@Srinivas: I'd be curious to see how AI gets the answer to "why?": the 'cause' may be possible to find in past data...Sign up

Feedback Loop Mechanism
srinivas, Lecturer, India, Member
Using semantic web technologies which are based on artificial intelligence it is possible to interpret what the result means. Using feedback loop mech...Sign up

Stochastic Approach to Root Cause Analysis May Be the Need of the Day
C.L. Kappagomtula, Professor, Malaysia, Member
I fully concur with Ger De Waard's argument to not restrict to 5 Whys alone. There is no real sanctity in this number of Whys, for the root cause is n...Sign up


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