In today’s IT’s landscape, a variety of tools are available to us to help with root cause analysis process. Leveraging your tools and using them optimally is necessary to any system but it’s important to remember that tools do not have access to all the information available for them to be able to truly solve every problem So to truly get to the true root cause, you need a process that will take us beyond the scope of tools. While there are many methodologies the following is a favorite here at Netreo. The 5 whys method.
The 5 Whys method is a well-established root cause analysis tool, and it has the advantage of being one of the easiest to use and implement. It was created by Sakichi Toyoda as part of the Toyota production process and the technique became an integral part of the Lean management philosophy.
To put it simply, the 5 whys simply means asking “Why did that happen?” five times to get to the root cause. It may take fewer or more times of asking why to get to the root cause, but repeatedly asking why points to issues outside of the technical.
For the 5 Whys method to work, it is integral you are involving technical experts in the root cause analysis process. People with practical experience can give you the most valuable information regarding any problem that appears in their area of expertise.
The following are a few ways to make the 5 whys method as optimal as possible.
The 5 Whys technique can make the prospect of root cause analysis less daunting for you and your team. It encourages each team member to share ideas for continuous improvement rather and avoids a blame game.
The work doesn’t stop once you reach a conclusion about your root cause. Once you’ve decided on corrective action, you need to assign specific action items to individuals to make sure they are done and to observe the results.
Sometime after the corrective actions are implemented, the team should meet again to check to see if the actions had the intended consequences. If not, you need to start to process from the beginning and make sure you did not miss a key cause.
Once completed the case should be documented and sent out to the whole organization. Sharing this information can give insight into what potential problems your team may face and how to confront and eliminate them.
The 5 Whys technique is a great technique to use alongside your IT management tools to analyze root causes. It can go beyond the scope of your hardware and software to point to non-technical root causes.
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