E6S-116 – Back Pocket 5-Why MacGyver - Multiply, Add, Divide and Conquer

Intro:  Welcome to the E6S-Methods podcast with Jacob and Aaron, your weekly dose of tips and tricks to achieve excellent performance in your business and career.  Join us as we explore deeper into the practical worlds of Lean, Six Sigma, Project Management and Design Thinking.  In this episode number 116 we discuss the many uses of the"5 Why's" and why you should become the "Back Pocket 5-Why MacGyver.  Here we go. http://bit.ly/E6S-116  Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes


***5 Why MacGyver - Multiply, Add, Divide and Conquer***                                                                            


Objection 1:  This is obvious (too simplistic/boring). 

Counter 1: Simple doesn't mean worthless.  Often it's the simpler tools well executed that are most powerful.  Executing may be not as simple as it seems.

Objection 2: Too complex/scripted/bureaucratic. It doesn’t take 5 whys to get there. People just make it up.

Counter 2: Sometimes. Especially if it's used as a "check-the-box" and the org is actually not interested in corrective action.  Good root cause analysis takes time.

Objection 3:  This doesn't help. Ultimately get to something you cannot control or fix.

Counter 3: Also possibly true. Concentrate on the level where action can be taken.  Try to avoid band-aids as long-term fixes.                                                                


I            Basic 5 why's

a.       What is it? 5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. Keep asking why until you cannot give a good reason.

b.      Why ask why?

i.      avoid assumptions and logic traps

ii.      trace the chain of causality to a root cause connected to the original problem.

c.       Wikipedia 5-why history?  Where did it come from?                       

i.      formally developed by Sakichi Toyoda and was used within the Toyota Motor Corporation

ii.      Appears in other forms. Ricardo Semler, Semco practices "three whys"

II         Applicability in 8D, root cause analysis, fishbone, design, customer interviews                 

a.       Scoping and defining Lean Six Sigma projects

b.      Root cause analysis, 8Ds and fishbone diagrams (future episodes)

c.       Ethnographic Interviews, and Voice of Customer

i.      Example: Interview Journey simulation, Situation: leading a simulated interview where the interviewer needed to arrive at the customer’s true underlying need. This was a test of current VOC obtaining capabilities…. They failed.  


III      Branching Why's – Using the"AND" function;

a.       Often multiple faults occur at the same time to lead to a failure

i.      Why did I have a bad experience on United?

1.      Because: The plane was overweight –AND-  they turned many people away-AND- the gate agent was poorly trained

b.      3-legged 5Why: All customer defects have three cause (at least).  Very effective on 8D

i.      Root Cause  - technically how the defect occurred

ii.      System Cause – the processes, procedures, (lack of) or system issues that allowed the root cause to happen

iii.      Escape cause – how the defect failed to be detected before it reached the customer

iv.      Examples - Use cases of 3-legged 5 why (8D);

1.      Leaking bottles – Issue of leaking chemistry, 1L bottles across the globe.

2.      Oh Crap, I got fired episode 27 Special http://bit.ly/E6S-027Special

c.       Other similar “branching why” methods

i.      WBA-Why-Because-Analysis,

ii.      Fault-Tree Analysis                                        

IV      Risks?

a.       Asking 5-why’s deep on out-of-scope issues; (fishbone)

i.      Spend time.  Lose your team

b.      Not take action on what you find

i.      Makes Root Cause Analysis lose credibility

c.       Tendency for investigators to stop at symptoms rather than going on to lower-level root causes.

i.      Defaulting to “cop-outs” like “too busy,” “not enough resources,”

d.      Inability to go beyond the investigator's current knowledge - cannot find causes that they do not already know.

e.       Lack of support to help the investigator ask the right "why" questions.

f.       Results are not repeatable - different people using 5 Whys come up with different causes for the same problem.

g.      Tendency to isolate a single root cause, whereas each question could elicit many different root causes.

h.      Political implications of full system causes

i.      Intel Story - Didn’t like the “whole truth,” for system failures that included them as the customer

V         Back Pocket 5 Why MacGyver: Practice 5 Why’s everywhere

a.       Listen better

b.      Advanced: Learn how to ask “why” without asking “why”


Outro: Thanks for listening to episode 116 of the E6S-Methods podcast.  Stay tuned for episode number 117, "Ishikawa- Fishing for the truth!,"  If you subscribe to this program we'd like to know who you are.  Drop us a note on twitter @e6sindustries, email Aaron at aaron@e6s-methods.com, or contact us through our website.  As always, reviews on iTunes are much appreciated.  If you are one of the most awesome people who leave a review, be sure to let us know so we can say something nice about you to about a thousand other listeners.  Don't forget to you can find notes and graphics for all shows and more at www.E6S-Methods.com. "Journey Through Success. If you're not climbing up, then what ARE you doing?    Leave a Review! http://bit.ly/E6S-iTunes