The Power of 5 Whys and 5 Hows: Root cause analysis tools


When faced with a problem, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and struggle to find a solution. That’s where the power of the 5 Whys and 5 Hows comes in. 5 Whys and 5 Hows methods aim to uncover root causes of problems, preventing recurrence, and promoting continuous improvement. These simple yet effective problem-solving techniques can help you dig deep and uncover the root cause of an issue, allowing you to address it head-on and find a resolution. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of the 5 Whys and 5 Hows and how you can use them to master problem-solving. Get ready to unlock the power of the these tools and become a master problem-solver.

5 Whys technique

Implementing the 5 Whys technique is a powerful problem-solving method that can help you get to the root cause of any issue. This technique involves asking “why” repeatedly, up to five times, to uncover the underlying reasons behind a problem. By doing so, you can identify the true cause of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms develop effective solutions.

To use the 5 Whys technique effectively, you can follow a structured approach:

Define the Problem:

Start by clearly defining the problem you want to address.

Ask “Why” Once:

Begin by asking yourself or your team why the problem exists. This is the first step in understanding the issue. The five whys technique can be used with brainstorming or cause and effect diagram.

Repeat the Questioning:

After obtaining an answer, ask “why” again to delve further into the underlying reasons.

Identify the Root Cause:

By the fifth “why,” you should either reach the root cause or notice that the answers have become repetitive.

Benefits of Using 5 whys

  • Shifts focus to root causes for comprehensive problem-solving.
  • Encourages critical thinking and in-depth analysis.
  • Fosters collaboration among team members.
  • Enhances effective decision-making through understanding root causes.

Example of 5 Whys & 5 Hows

5 Whys And 5 Hows

5 Hows Technique

The 5 Hows technique is a powerful tool that complements the 5 Whys method. It takes problem-solving a step further by not only identifying the root cause but also prompting you to brainstorm potential solutions.

To use the 5 Hows technique effectively, follow these steps:

Identify the Problem:

 Begin by defining the problem and asking “why” repeatedly to uncover its core issue.

Transition to 5 Hows:

 Once the root cause is found, switch to asking “how” to brainstorm potential solutions.

Benefits of 5 Hows Technique

  • Promotes Critical Thinking
  • Encourages Collaboration
  • Enhances Understanding
  • Inspires Innovative Solutions
  • Facilitates Holistic Problem Solving


In conclusion, the 5 Whys and 5 Hows techniques create a robust problem-solving framework that helps organizations and individuals dig deeper into their issues; by repeatedly asking “why” and “how,” they can identify root causes and brainstorm effective solutions. These techniques promote critical thinking, encourage collaboration among team members, enhance understanding of problems, inspire innovative solutions, and facilitate holistic problem-solving. When used together, they offer a comprehensive approach to addressing and resolving complex issues, ultimately leading to more effective decision-making and improved outcomes.

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