Problem-Solving Resource Center

Five Whys

What It Is Used For

  • To tunnel into the process to find the root cause of the process.

When to Use It

  • During root cause analysis to help identify the root cause or to identify where data need to be collected.

Important Notes

  • The term “Five-Whys” is a figurative term. A team might need more or less than five whys to tunnel down to the root cause of a problem.
  • Be careful not to “lead” the questioning to a preconceived “why.”

Example 5-Whys Worksheet