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The Five Whys Process Best Practices

The Five Whys Process provides business leaders and managers with a simple and easy to understand methods used in the Analyze phase of DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) within the Lean Six Sigma process. In order to complete the Five Whys Process, business leaders must conduct a basic root cause analysis with the intention of drilling down to the essence of a problem in order to find out why it occurs and prevent its recurrence.

More about The Five Whys Process

Description of The Five Whys Process

The Five Whys Process walks business leaders and managers through the process of identifying a problem without the use of hypothesis testing, advanced regression analysis or complicated data analytics. Simply put, the Five Whys process asks the question “why?” until there are no more answers to be had and a root cause is identified. Five Whys does not refer to the exact number of times a business leader should ask why, instead it provides a rough guide.

Here’s how you complete the Five Whys Process:

  1. Form a core team
  2. Define the problem
  3. Ask the “Five Whys” (Answer the question at least five times)
  4. Address the root cause and assign responsible parties
  5. Monitor the measures over time

Praxie's Online Five Whys Process Tools & Template

The tools and resources that leaders use to make the most of the Five Whys Process template are internal stakeholder interviews, project plans, and business strategy documents. Get started with our Five Whys Process template.  

How to use it: 

  1. Define your problem statement.   
  2. Ask “Why did this occur?” up to five times and describe your answer.   
  3. When your answer is the root cause of the problem, proceed to “Root Cause” and describe the root cause.  
  4. If you answer is “No”, ask the next “Why did this occur?” in the series until you identify a root cause that is under your control. ​ 
  5. Create an action plan for completing your Five Whys template, including conducting research, interviewing stakeholders involved with the problem statement, or gathering other information. 

Unlike most traditional process checklists and problem solving models, Praxie’s online Five Whys Process model tool allows any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.