Quality Problem Solving

Quality Problem Solving-36
For example, saying "volume of calls is too high" is better than a vague "overloaded." For each of the answers that you generated in Step 3, ask four further "whys" in succession. Similarly, asking "Why did the job take longer than expected? " at this point reveals a single reason (Reason 1). " here identifies two possibilities (Reasons 1 and 2) before a possible counter-measure becomes evident.

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Search for answers that are grounded in fact: they must be accounts of things that have actually happened, not guesses at what might have happened.

This prevents 5 Whys from becoming just a process of deductive reasoning, which can generate a large number of possible causes and, sometimes, create more confusion as you chase down hypothetical problems.

In this article and in the video, below, we look at the 5 Whys technique (sometimes known as 5Y).

This is a simple but powerful tool for cutting quickly through the outward symptoms of a problem to reveal its underlying causes, so that you can deal with it once and for all.

The 5 Whys technique is true to this tradition, and it is most effective when the answers come from people who have hands-on experience of the process or problem in question.

The method is remarkably simple: when a problem occurs, you drill down to its root cause by asking "Why? Then, when a counter-measure becomes apparent, you follow it through to prevent the issue from recurring.You can use 5 Whys for troubleshooting, quality improvement, and problem solving, but it is most effective when used to resolve simple or moderately difficult problems.It may not be suitable if you need to tackle a complex or critical problem.Have you ever had a problem that refused to go away?No matter what you did, sooner or later it would return, perhaps in another form.This simple technique, however, can often direct you quickly to the root cause of a problem.So, whenever a system or process isn't working properly, give it a try before you embark on a more in-depth approach – and certainly before you attempt to develop a solution.An appropriate counter-measure or process change should then become evident.(As we said earlier, if you're not sure that you've uncovered the real root cause, consider using a more in-depth problem-solving technique like Cause and Effect Analysis." In some cases, you may need to ask "Why?Now that you've identified at least one root cause, you need to discuss and agree on the counter-measures that will prevent the problem from recurring.Keep a close watch on how effectively your counter-measures eliminate or minimize the initial problem.

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