"Five Whys"


So, I’ve been working my way through Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup and as I read, I try to connect the concepts he mentions to work I’ve done in the past and the work I plan to do in the near future.  Eric mentions the “Five Whys”…a technique used to get to the root cause of a problem.  I had previously worked for Genentech, an amazingly innovative biotech company, where I was introduced to the concepts of Kaizen, lean manufacturing and Six Sigma – all tools used for process improvement.  I remember that the Five Whys technique, where you essentially identify a problem and ask “why” until you reach a root cause (often part of the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) methodology) is associated with these methods.

This is a fascinating (and simple on the surface) method to understand where problems originate.  To me, part of the beauty of this technique and other processes associated with design and general problem solving is that you can adapt them to your own life…I suspect that using the Five Whys method can help to come to an actual solution of an issue efficiently and rationally. 

We all need some rationale in our lives, right?