Five Whys for Project Problems

This is a simple and methodical way to identify the root cause. It drives you to find and solve the real issue instead of an obvious symptom, thus stopping the problem from reoccurring.

  • Easy to use, just fill-in the blanks
  • Flexible, add or delete content
  • Illustrative example included
  • Available – Instant download



“5 Whys” is a repetitive question-asking technique used to analyze the cause and effect relationship underlying an issue. By repeatedly asking “Why?” you take an onion approach where you peel back the layers of the problem. This process ensures that the root cause are addressed instead of the symptoms.

By removing the root cause you save time and money as:

1- The problem will not reoccur;
2- There is a prevention of problems in other areas and
3- There is an improvement in process cycle times (no reworking or retesting etc.)

How to complete the 5 Whys:

1- Write down the problem
2- Think about why the problem occurred
3- If this “Why?” does not thoroughly answer the initial question, ask “Why?” again and write the answer down.
4- Continue asking “Why?” until you have identified the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. This may take more or less than 5 “Whys?”.

It is important to note that one problem may have more than one root cause and one root cause may contribute to many problems.

Additional information


, ,

File Type