5 Whys5 Whys

5 Whys Template

Clearly analyze and understand the root of a problem or issue.

About the 5 Whys template

What are the 5 Whys?

The 5 Whys is a technique for getting at the root of a problem. Fundamentally, the approach is simple: you ask why a given problem happened, and then you ask four more times. But it is also much more than that. Toyota pioneered the 5 Whys technique as a critical component of its problem-solving training. By repeating the question five times, it becomes easier to get at the heart of the problem and discover a solution.

Why use the 5 Whys approach?

The 5 Whys framework allows you to have a focused discussion so you don’t get distracted by other topics. You simply start with a problem statement, examine why that problem exists, then continue moving through each problem until you identify a core issue that you can act upon. Keep in mind that it might not always take five rounds—just go through the activity until you arrive at a satisfactory conclusion.

How do you use the Miro 5 Whys template?

You can involve team members by asking them questions in chat or @mentioning them in comments. Use sticky notes to call out issues that are particularly important or require follow-up. You may also want to color-code the sticky notes depending on the urgency or severity of the problem or whose role it will be to take the next step.

5 Whys Example

Let’s say you’re trying to ship an app that your team has been working on. You were prepared to ship on time, but you were two days late. Here’s how you might use the 5 Whys to uncover the reason that happened and how you can avoid delays in the future.

Step 1: Start with the broadest possible question, then try to answer it. Why was the app late? It was late because there was a production delay.

Step 2: Based on this answer, you can narrow the question slightly. Why was there a production delay? There was a production delay because the engineering team had to deploy a last-minute patch, which the product team did not know about until launch day.

Step 3: Narrow the question even further, and then answer it. Why didn’t the product team know about the patch? The product team didn’t know about the patch because engineering didn’t communicate it to them.

Step 4: Keep narrowing and answering the question. Why didn’t the engineering team communicate to the product team? The engineering team didn’t communicate to the product team because they did not know how to communicate that information.

Step 5: Ask the question one last time to zero in on your solution. Why didn’t the engineering team know how to communicate to the product team? The engineering team didn’t know how to communicate to the product team because the product team has no clear point of contact or processes for communication.

5 Whys Template

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