What are 5 Whys? How to apply 5 Whys to find the root of the problem effectively

In the process of finding solutions to problems that arise in work or life, we often think of asking why to find the root cause. However, this only stops at the surface level and does not provide an exact solution to the problem. Therefore, 5 Whys was born as a tool to help analyze and solve problems in a more planned way, thereby helping to improve efficiency and performance in work and life.

In this article, let's learn about the method with Viindoo What are 5 Whys? and how to apply to solve challenges in life and work.

1. What is the 5 Whys Method?

5 Whys is a method of determining the root cause of a problem by asking the "why" question 5 times in a row until the main cause of the problem is found.

This method is commonly used in quality management and allows managers to effectively solve problems by finding one or more specific causes of the problem and finding ways to solve it. prevent future incidents.

What are 5 WhysWhat is the 5 Whys Method?

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2. Objectives and examples of the 5 Whys method

The goal of 5 Whys is to find the root cause of a particular problem. By using this method, users can identify the cause and take appropriate remedial action to prevent that problem from happening.

Although simple, this method requires deep thinking. There are many practical applications of this method that you can use to solve many different problems in life as well as work:

Example 1:

An example of this is when asking about the causes of campaign failures:

  • Question 1: What is the reason the campaign failed? - Communication is not done well
  • Question 2: Why is communication not done well? - Content and construction images are not attractive
  • Question 3: Why are the content and construction images not attractive? - Because HR doesn't have enough time to prepare
  • Question 4: Why does HR not have enough time to prepare? - Because in the process of implementation, many tasks arise
  • Question 5: Why is there a lot of work arising in the implementation process? - Because management has not properly allocated personnel

We realize that the cause of unsuccessful campaigns is that the head of the department has not allocated the work properly. To solve this problem, the department head needs to adjust the time and assign work more accurately.

Example 2:

When the city was newly flooded with heavy rain:

  • Question 1: Why has the city been flooded by heavy rain? - Due to heavy rain, the sewer system cannot drain water in time
  • Question 2: Why is the sewer system not draining in time? - Poor planning and drainage system
  • Question 3: Why is the planning and drainage system poor? - Because the orientation of the city leader is poor
  • Question 4: Why is the orientation of the city leadership poor? - Because leaders have poor expertise
  • Question 5: Why do leaders have poor expertise? - Because of the poor recruitment process
Example 5 WhyWhat is the goal of the 5 Whys?

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3. How to apply the 5 Whys method effectively

3.1 Step 1: Form a problem assessment team

When solving a problem, businesses need to bring together people who understand the specific case and set up the process to fix it. These people will include a coordinator, tasked with keeping the team focused on identifying effective preventive measures.

Toyota's 5 WhysForm a problem-solving group

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3.2 Step 2: Identify the problem

When a problem is encountered, the manager should directly observe the problem and publish the problem briefly for the whole team to analyze.

For example, management might refer to problems as "The software has too many bugs after release". The manager can then write the problem down on a whiteboard or a piece of paper for team members to ask the question “Why?” together.

What are 5 WhysIdentify the problem to be solved

3.3 Step 3: Ask the first “Why” question

Ask your team member why the problem is happening. (Example: "Why does the software release so many bugs?") Asking the question "Why?" It sounds simple, but answering this question requires serious thought.

This manager must look for fact-based answers: The reason should be a description of what actually happened, not a prediction of what might have happened. Next, the manager needs to record the employee's answers in short phrases. Then, write them below (or next to) your problem.

What are 5 WhysAsk the first question to find out the cause

3.4 Step 4: Continue to ask 4 "Why" questions until the root cause of the problem is found

For each answer the manager generates in Step 3, ask four more "why" questions in a row. Each time you ask a question, write down the corresponding answer you receive. One tip for you is to try to jump quickly between questions to get an overview before jumping to any conclusions.

What are 5 WhysKeep asking questions to find out the cause

3.5 Step 5: Come up with a solution

Businesses will know the root cause of the problem when asking 5 times "why". Then what the business needs to do is come up with a measure or change the process to be able to solve the problem.

If you still haven't found the root of the problem, you can continue to dig deeper. If you have identified more than one cause in Step 3, repeat the process until the cause of the problem is found.

What are 5 WhysProvide a solution to the problem

3.6 Step 6: Evaluate the solution

Businesses should monitor the implementation of problem-solving measures to see if they are effective or not. During this process, the business may need to modify or replace the solutions as it deems necessary. If there is a change, the business should repeat the 5 Whys process to ensure that they have correctly identified the root cause.

Example 5 WhySolution evaluation has been done

Hope through the above article of Viindoo, the enterprise has grasped the method What are 5 Whys? and how to apply this method effectively. The application of 5 Whys will help businesses find the main cause and thoroughly solve that problem. If the business encounters a problem in the business process, try applying 5 Whys to solve and improve the situation.

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Jun Nguyen April 21, 2023

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