Root Cause Analysis — Solve Your Problems With the Method of 5 Whys

“There is nothing that can’t be done. If you can’t make something, it’s because you haven’t tried hard enough.” — Sakichi Toyoda

Do you have, at first sight, a trifling issue that has been bothering you for days, weeks, months? You keep on solving it but it gets back again and again. And I am sure it happens A LOT in everyone’s life. How do you get rid off it and never worry about it anymore?
The 5 Whys is a surprisingly effective and totally simple way to task-solving.

However, the 5 Whys technique is used across-the-board including everyday life.

How we use this method in Bloomy Lab

We use the “5 Whys” after something unexpected happens to identify the root of the problem. You can imagine how often we perform it as a startup.
No matter which area the “fire” started in, the “5 Whys” is always a perfect tool to choke it. Eric Ries, an author of The Lean Startup, explains:
“Five Whys involves holding meetings immediately following the resolution of problems the company is facing. These problems can be anything: development mistakes, site outages, marketing program failures, or even internal missed schedules. Any time something unexpected happens, we could do some root cause analysis.”

For example, the client was not happy with the outcome of the website he had ordered. You should keep in mind that the purpose of this method is not to find who is to blame but to get to the heart of the problem. So it would not be a UI/UX designer, software engineer, project manager, etc. but the lack of communication between the members of the team and the client himself.

Here is how we began to use this method, having read the Buffer’s article.

1. Invite all affected
2. Select a meeting leader
3. Ask “Why” five times
4. Assign responsibilities for solutions
5. Email your team the results

5 Whys technique implemented in a mobile app

Conclusion

5 Whys is an extremely simple and effective way to task-solving. Here is how it can help you:

  • Solve your tasks properly without getting back to them all over again.
  • Get rid of everything that bothers you.
  • Be productive with the 5 Whys technique. Add questions and answers to them.
  • Analyze your answers and make conclusions.

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Product designer & Entrepreneur