The 5 Whys method: find sustainable solutions as a team


The 5 Whys method

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To fix a problem or malfunction efficiently, try out the 5 Whys method. This is an extremely useful tool to incorporate into your project management, with a ready-to-use template guiding you step by step to identify in greater detail the root causes of your problem. Then, after this phase, you can look for lasting solutions as a team, to eliminate the problem at its source.

The 5 Whys, or root cause analysis of a problem

To improve your management capabilities, it's vital to learn how to solve any problems that may arise during your project management or team management.  And to do this, first you need to identify the causes of these problems. Which leads to the unavoidable question: "Why?".

With the 5 Whys template, you keep asking yourself this question until you get to the root causes. Once you’ve found them, it becomes much easier to identify appropriate solutions collectively!

This analysis tool helps you simply identify the solutions you need to unblock the situation, and encourage continuous improvement. The 5 Whys method comes from the Japanese Kaizen approach, a continuous improvement process based on concrete, simple and inexpensive actions. As a team, you aim to make simple changes every day, that gradually improve team performance and management.

Each time your ask "why?", take a step further in your thinking and get closer to the root causes of your problem.

The power and benefits of the "5 Whys"

To be able to analyze the root causes of a problem in depth, asking the question "Why does this problem arise?" once may not be enough. Starting each time from the cause detected for the previous “why”, you progressively identify in depth the "root" cause of the malfunction, all the better to respond to it.

Effective management, which focuses on the team’s needs and project progress, has to solve the obstacles or problems encountered permanently. This is a way to avoid wasting time constantly repeating the same problem-solving procedures.

What’s more, by adopting the 5 Whys method, not only do you improve your chances of finding relevant solutions, you also make it possible to implement more efficient, more interactive and more productive processes for the rest of your activities. Your project management and your team management then become seamless thanks to this continuous improvement.

Finally, with the Klaxoon shared whiteboard, accessible on any device, you can set up the 5 Whys method with your team, whether you’re meeting in a room together or some of you are working remotely.

How does the 5 Whys template work on Klaxoon?

First, invite your team members to your Klaxoon whiteboard, then identify the problem together and describe it in an idea. Add this idea in the dedicated area on the Board.

Ask yourself the question "why?", and let everyone send their ideas to the first row of the table. Then, go through the answers together to choose the most relevant ones, and give each one a different color.

Based on the most relevant explanations to the first “why”, ask yourself "why" once again. This way, you will be looking for the causes of the answers given previously. Post them in the second row of the table, and connect them to the previous causes to reveal the line of reasoning. Keep the colors of each idea too, so you can see how you are progressively getting to the root causes.

Repeat the same process until finding that root causes for each of your problems. Then, propose solutions collectively, in a different color this time, to bring a final response to each problem in the dedicated area.

You may need more or fewer iterations to get to the real root cause. Which is why, using the Selection tool, you can move and arrange the whiteboard however you need. When you’ve selected a "Why?" line, simply duplicate it by clicking on the group of items, and then on the dedicated button.

So go on, give the 5 Whys template a try, and seek out the root causes of your business problems!

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