Problem Root Cause Analysis Using the 5 Whys Template

Last updated on November 25, 2022 by

In some cases, teams are having difficulties identifying the root cause of a problem. And there are also times when performing temporary solutions, just worsens the situation. Good thing, there is a 5 whys technique that allows you to specify the main cause of the issue. Furthermore, it helps the team to develop some strategies to come up with solutions using this problem-solving tool. In this article, let’s learn more about the technique in detail. Alternatively, you have a clear view of the 5 whys template to further visualize the idea.

5 Whys Template

What is 5 Whys Technique?

In the 1930s, Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese industrialist, inventor, and the man behind Toyota Industries, created the 5 Whys root cause analysis. “Go and see” is Toyota’s guiding principle which is based decisions on a deep understanding of what is actually happening in the business. Toyota still employs it to address issues today, having gained popularity in the 1970s. 

This simple method frequently enables you to locate the main cause of the problem. As a result, whenever a system or process isn’t working properly, the 5 whys technique is beneficial. It can help you to find the root of the issue and to come up with a solution. 

Reasons to Use 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis

The five whys method can be used for quality control, problem resolution, and troubleshooting, although it works best for straightforward or somewhat complex issues. Moreover, it works well with other approaches and techniques, such as Root Cause Analysis, and its simplicity allows it a lot of versatility. It’s frequently linked to the Six Sigma method for improving quality and also uses in the analysis phase. The combination of the following techniques enables the team to prevent making the same errors again.

How to Use 5 Whys Root Cause Analysis Template?

To fully understand the 5 whys, here’s the process you can follow and see the template for visualizing the procedure.

5 whys process
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Build a Team

Bring together individuals who are knowledgeable and must participate in solving complicated issues. Including facilitators, moderators, stakeholders, and especially decision-makers in the business. Depending on the nature of the problem, a cross-functional team may provide deeper insight into possible problems. 

Further, you can assign a moderator to guide the discussion and guarantee that all procedures are followed and no assumptions are made. 

Write Down Specific Problems

In order to identify the specific factors contributing to the issue as well as its root cause. Write a concise, precise problem statement that you all agree on after discussing it with your team. An example of a specific problem is “A wrong item was shipped to the customer”

Start Asking Why

With the example problem statement mentioned, you can make an assertion. Then, you can start asking “why” your team is experiencing the issue. The 5 Why analysis requires you to ask “why” five times, but you might need to go through a few more depending on the complexity of the problem.  Based on the problem statement “A wrong item was shipped to the customer”, you can see the example 5 whys template below.

5 whys template
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Brainstorm Solutions

After identifying some of the underlying issues, you can discuss with your team members how to deal with the issue. You must discuss and come to an agreement on the possible solutions that will stop the issue from happening again. Also, ensure that the responses are supported by data before posing the same query again. Continue the procedure until you discover the issue’s underlying cause. 

Plan Next Steps and Actions

Take each member’s suggestion and choose the best solutions to the problem. After that, put them into action to address the underlying issue. Don’t forget to follow up with your partners and stakeholders so that you may exchange information and stop the occurrence of similar issues in the future.


Applying the five whys technique is an efficient way to find the root cause of the problem quickly. This questioning method helps a team to brainstorm solutions and to plan actions that can prevent the issue from again. As shown in the 5 whys template, utilizing the method can provide convenience in dealing with a complicated problem. Further, if you find this info and template helpful, don’t forget to follow GitMind. You can also check out more interesting problem-solving templates and ideas that you can use right now with your team.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on November 25, 2022

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