Organizational Performance Part 32: Using 5 Why for Effective Problem Solving Part 2 | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to the importance of using data and evidence to validate the 5 Whys. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 1: (00:05)
In this session, we’re going to continue talking about the five why analysis and why organizations struggle with effective problem solving. So last session, we talked about the relevant factor and the problem statement. And when we asked our first why, we include our relevant factor and problem statement in the first why question.
Speaker 1: (00:25)
So why does incorrectly define the problem cause organizations to struggle with effective problem solving? So from the LinkedIn post, we had some comments and some feedback. And so the way I’m going to answer this first question is that there’s insufficient data collected at the time the problem occurs. So to check the logic, we say the problem statement, because reading down the five why, and we say the first why answer.
Speaker 1: (00:55)
So organizations struggle with effective problem solving because there’s insufficient data collected at the time the problem occurs. So to me, that makes logical sense. And we read up the five why using if/then logic. So if there’s insufficient data collected at the time the problem occurs, then organizations struggle with effective problem solving. And so that also makes logical sense. So it needs to read correctly, both directions, which this one does.
Speaker 1: (01:23)
So now we want to find evidence that there’s insufficient data collected in companies when the problem occurs. The problem solving tools that I’d like to use are three methodologies. And those three methodologies are your eyes, your legs, and your ears. So these are all we need to do effective problem solving. So we go to the place where the problem’s occurring. So we use our legs to walk there, we use our eyes to observe, and we use our ears to listen.
Speaker 1: (01:54)
So if you notice the one that’s not here is your mouth. So you don’t want to speak. The only speaking that you want to do, is ask questions. So there’s seven questions that I always ask when I go looking for evidence to the problem and we call it the 5W2H process because there’s five questions that start with the letter W and two that start with the letter H.
Speaker 1: (02:19)
So the five questions that start with letter W, what happened? Why is it a problem, when did it happen, who detected it, where was it detected? And then we have two H questions that are, how was it detected, and how critical? So these are the seven questions that we want to ask when any problem occurs to gather as much information about the current state as possible. And you need to be specific, so I’m looking for specific details here, not generalizations.
Speaker 1: (02:53)
So we call it like, crime scene investigation. You want to gather as many facts as possible, use this process to know the current situation. And so what happened? So what is the problem? Why is the problem? What are the consequences for the customer? And the customer might be the next step in the process. When did it happen? So specific date, time, frequency. Who detected it? So we want to put the name of the person who detected so that we can go back at any time and ask them questions about what they experienced.
Speaker 1: (03:27)
Where was it detected? So where was it found? So, one thing we’re got to look at is if we have a detection problem, if it wasn’t found close to the place where the issue is controlled, we want to go back and say, okay, why was it detected way downstream from where that issue is controlled? So it’s important to determine where it’s detected. How was it detected also, what was the measurement that we used to define or find the problem or detect the problem? And then critical, how critical we’re looking at, what is the risk for the business?
Speaker 1: (04:05)
So I like to use the FEMA approach, where we’re looking at the risk priority number and looking at what’s the severity of the problem when it occurs on a scale of one to 10, what is the likelihood that it’s going to happen? So of course if it happens, the likelihood is going to be high. And then what is the detection method? So are we able to detect it?
Speaker 1: (04:28)
So we said earlier that all problems aren’t created equal. So what we can do is we can use that FEMA approach to understand what is the severity of the problem and define it in terms of criticality and then see, when we have multiple problems, which ones are more important and which ones aren’t important. So those are the ones that are important. The critical few are the ones that we want to focus on.
Speaker 1: (04:53)
So if we focus on the right things, then we can start our five why analysis, once we determine the relevant factors. So next session, I’m going to talk about data and evidence that companies don’t do this, and don’t get enough sufficient data to start their problem solving analysis.