The Five Whys and Ishikawa’s Fishbone
When you have a problem that just won’t go away then the chances are your quick fixes aren’t getting to the root of the problem. Sakichi Toyoda developed the five why technique in the 1930s. It’s a remarkably simple technique. When a problem occurs, you use the question why no fewer than five times to uncover its nature and source.
Let’s have a look – one famous example is The Washington Monument was disintegrating:
Why? Use of harsh chemicals
Why? To clean pigeon poop
Why so many pigeons? They eat spiders and there are a lot of spiders at monument
Why so many spiders? They eat gnats and lots of gnats at monument
Why so many gnats? They are attracted to the light at dusk.
Solution: Turn on the lights at a later time.
Feel free to request the templates firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to share.
1. Recognise the importance of getting to the solution rather than the reason
2. Integrate the five whys model in your business as a debriefing opportunity for all business projects. You can learn from what went well as much as what did not.
3. If the problem is intricate then map the outcomes on in a Fishbone diagram.
Please do share your experiences with these models in the comments below. I am building a portfolio of small business case studies and would love to include examples of what has worked well for you.
PS – If you need further help then give me a call on 07962 626604 to arrange a Skype session with me.