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#Lean Five Whys: when do you stop asking? Please answer here:

October 15th, 2012 Posted in Lean Tags: , , , ,

I think you will spend 56 seconds reading this post

give me five! (CC)Creative Commons License Martin Fisch via Compfight

I have a question to me fellow readers.

On of the most famous Lean tools (or quality tool as well) is the Five Whys. Literature has it that one should ask 5 whys at least and that a further number of whys isn’t a bad thing. Yet, Taiichi Ohno often gives examples where the investigation is stopped at the fifth why despite one could easily have asked some further ones.

Aside from the usual caveats (doing wide whys and forgetting to go deep five levels; assigning blame to other people; etc.), what are your practices regarding five whys, and what’s your criteria for stopping?

Here’s my answer below, but please only read it after you have posted your own in a comment this post (double-click the following paragraph to have it decoded in a pop-up – an alternative way is copy-pasting the text onto www.rot13.com website).

Zl bja pevgrevn sbe fgbccvat nanylfvf vf jura crbcyr raq hc jvgu n pnhfr gung unf abg bgure shegure pnhfr orfvqr “jryy, jr whfg unir gb qb K”.
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