The 5 Whys is a problem solving technique designed to drill down to the underlying cause of a problem.
The process is simple: ask 'Why?' 5 times in succession or as many times as needed, until the underlying cause is found.
By solving the underlying cause you ensure that the problem does not happen again. This prevents you having to solve the symptom (the problem you currently see) in the future; thus saving you time, money and effort every day.
The '5 Whys' can be used by individuals or teams as a problem solving technique.
There are four key steps in the process:
Step 1: Define the problem.
Step 2: Ask 'Why Did This Happen?'
Step 3: Check – Is This a Root Cause?
Step 4: Identify and implement solutions.