What about problem solving – part II. In the previous post about Problem Solving, I tried to give you an idea of where to start. There was also a lot about the essence of finding the root cause for an effective problem resolution.
The 5 Whys Method: A Tool for Root Cause Analysis
In this post (What about problem solving – part II), as promised, I would like to show you a tool for determining the root cause. There are, of course, more than one such tool, but let me introduce you to the one I have used most often. I don’t claim it’s the best, nor do I claim it’s the simplest, but it is effective, which I hope to convince you of.
Understanding the 5 Whys Method
The tool is called “5 Whys,” developed by Sakichi Toyoda and further refined at Toyota, where it became the foundation for delving into problems and their causes. It’s also well-known to parents of young children. The principles of using this tool, or more accurately, the method, are relatively simple. You just need to ask the question “why” repeatedly until you reach the root cause. As I mentioned, it’s simple.
Preparing for Effective Root Cause Analysis
However, for it to be effective, proper preparation is necessary. The most crucial thing is to define the problem well, as you can read in the previous post. You should always keep in mind the logical cause-and-effect sequence, distinguishing between symptoms and causes. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions. The 5 Whys method is systematic and allows us to systematically trace the causes of a specific problem.
The Human Factor and Effective Communication
The most important condition for using this method, in my opinion, is the human factor. To start asking questions, you need to build an atmosphere of trust. Certainly, anyone would feel uncomfortable if someone started firing questions like, “Why are you doing it this way and not differently?” In such a case, it’s natural to become defensive because you might suspect that your work and the way you do it could be poorly evaluated. Those conducting the 5 Whys should ensure the comfort of the person they are talking to. Explain the purpose of this analysis, the impact of its results on problem resolution. The person being interviewed must know that their input contributes to positive change and that there are other moments and people responsible for evaluating their work.
The Importance of Precision and Analysis in the 5 Whys Method
Another issue is the tricky number 5. Just because it’s in the name of the method doesn’t make it mandatory. Sometimes, asking four questions is enough to reach the root cause. However, we must be vigilant; the more questions we ask, the greater the risk of getting lost. The answers we hear must be analyzed: is this the root cause already? To answer this question, we must ask more. If I address this cause, will the problem not recur? If the answer is yes, congratulations, you’ve reached the Holy Grail.
Applying the 5 Whys Method to a Real Example
Of course, there’s no topic without an example, so let’s go back to our unfortunate flooded bathroom from the previous post. Can we assume at this stage that we’ve found the root cause? If we replace the pipes with new ones, will the problem not recur? Yes, the risk of its recurrence will then be minimal. As you can see, it’s a simple example, but I hope it helps capture the essence of the topic.
Developing the Skills for Effective Problem Solving
It is said that the 5 Whys method is simple. In terms of the effort required from the person you are talking to, yes, it is. You also don’t need courses, software, or any special equipment. However, you do need analytical thinking, focus, and effective communication skills, which may not be so simple for everyone. But everything can be practiced, and I encourage you to do so.
Moving from Identification to Resolution
What about problem solving – part II. To sum up, we’ve discussed defining the problem and searching for the root cause. So are we all set now? Yes and no. Just applying the 5 Whys and finding a potential root cause won’t get us there. We need a problem solution, and that’s not always a piece of cake. Don’t worry; I’ll provide some tips on how to deal with it in the next post, or at least how I try to deal with it.
My name is Magdalena and I have been involved in production since 2010. I started as an Operator, and then developed as a Foreman, Production Planner, and I finally ended up in Lean. In the meantime, I graduated from the Faculty of Management with the specialization of Business Psychology. I did it relatively late, because I focused on practical knowledge, which directed me to this particular field of study. Currently, I am still mainly a Practitioner who is closely related to Lean, process management, as well as the building and managing of teams. I also run workshops and consultations concerning this subject, which is my great passion. As a lady in Lean, I want to show you Lean and Management from a slightly different perspective - lights and shadows, as well as fantastic and absurd features. However, no matter how you look at it, it is, above all, a fascinating path to perfection, which I hope you would like to take with me.