Square in the Crosshairs

Abstract:Root cause analysis is a great way to determine the cause of a problem, especially when paired with the five whys approach. The 5 whys approach is a process of asking why something failed until an ultimate cause can be determined and acted upon. Often, engineers or root cause analysts will stop asking why when a proximate cause is found, but proximate causes are only the most obvious issue and often are due to an ultimate cause. It can be difficult to decide when to stop asking why something failed, but there are guidelines for knowing when to stop: finding the leverage point principle, the Pareto principle, or the span of control principle. These guidelines will assist in finding the right place to take action against a failure in any process or product. Finding the ultimate cause for a failure and addressing that cause will not only solve the immediate problem, but will also prevent future identical …

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Provided enough detail in a short article to address variations in how 5 why can be implemented.
--Andrew Pitts, 05-11-2017


As I am writing an RCA process at work, I have found other more in-depth articles about when and how to apply the 5-Why principle. It does not always get to the actual cause.
--Rob, 05-10-2017


A thorough quick read on an underutilized tool.
--W Lunde, 01-10-2017


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