Organizational Performance Part 31: Using 5 Why for Effective Problem Solving | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to 5 Why and problem solving. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 1: (00:06)
In the last session, we started talking about why organizations struggle with effective problem solving. And so we took that problem statement and we developed a cause and effect diagram to identify what are the different potential causes that create this problem of being able to do effective problem solving. So the next step in the process is to take this and decide, which is the most relevant factor. And usually we do that through a voting process. We give people multiple votes and we parade the results and come up the factor that most likely is causing the problem statement. So from our poll that we did on LinkedIn, the number one issue was incorrectly defining the problem. So what I want to do is I want to take that factor and put it into a five why statement. So when we’re working with five why of course, we can do five why for two different types, we can do for occurrence and for non detection.
Speaker 1: (01:10)
So in this case, we’re going to do it for occurrence, and we’re going to ask five whys to get to the root cause. Five whys is one of the simplest tools and concept. It’s the most difficult tool I’ve ever used. First of all, you got to get started out correctly. If you don’t get started out correctly, then you’re, of course, not going to get to the root cause. So you start with the incriminating factor, which you come off the cause and effect diagram, you come up with your first why statement that contribute to the problem. And then most importantly, you need to verify that first why answer and have demonstrated evidence that it’s actually happening. Then we want to speak with data. So we want to gather data and provide evidence. So then I have some general guidelines for doing five why analysis. So how do we get started out correctly?
Speaker 1: (02:02)
First thing we want to do is include the problem statement in our first why question. And sometimes include the words occurrence or non detection, depending on what type of problem solving you’re looking at, an occurrence problem or a non detection problem. Then we want to continue to ask why until we get to the root cause. So when we do that, we want to read down our logic. So we read down our cause and effect diagram using effect cause logic. So we’re going from the effect to the cause. So we use the word because between our statement and our answer to our why. Then we can also check the logic, reading up using cause and logic. And we read that using if then. It needs to read correctly, both ways and for the logic to be solid. When we look at our five why analysis, we’re doing it for occurrence here.
Speaker 1: (02:57)
Our problem statement from our cause and effect diagrams, organizations struggle with effective problem solving. The relevant factor is incorrectly defining the problem. So the first thing we’re going to do is come up with our first why statement. And our rule thumb is use our relevant factor and include the problem statement in our first why. Why does incorrectly defining the problem cause organizations to struggle with effective problem solving? So what we want to do is we want to answer that question. So we want to come up with potential answers to that question and then read our logic. We would say organizations struggle with effective problem solving because, and read the answer to the first why.
Speaker 1: (03:41)
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to come up with different answers for options for the first why, and then next session, we will look at those answers and we’ll come up to see if we can find evidence that that’s occurring in the problem. So if you watched this video, I’d like you to comment in the comment section of what you think the answer is to that first why question. And then next week we’ll continue down the five why analysis.