Expanded 5 Whys

Updated: 5/9/2017
Expanded 5 Whys
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Whys Biz Lesson Plans

What are the 5 Whys

By Nathanael Okhuysen

When something goes wrong, especially in a large organization, there can be an instinct to point fingers and shift blame. This probably isn’t the best way to prevent the problem from arising in the future though. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Company, developed the “5 Whys” process, a type of root cause analysis, to identify and fix problems that arose within the company. It has since been widely adopted as part of lean manufacturing, Kaizen, and Six Sigma methodology.

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Storyboard Description

5 whys - 5whys - Five Whys graphic Organizer

Storyboard Text

  • The Problem
  • 1st Why
  • 2nd Why
  • 3rd Why
  • The kingdom was lost. Specifically: the castle and countryside were set on fire by a dragon.
  • 4th Why
  • There was no way to stop the dragon setting things on fire.
  • 5th Why
  • The dragon defeated the unmounted knight in battle.
  • The Root Cause
  • The knight's horse refused to be ridden.
  • Countermeasures
  • The horse had lost a shoe.
  • The blacksmith did not use the correct number of nails in shoeing the horse.
  • For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.
  • The Royal Horseshoe Inspection Department will make a checklist for all blacksmiths in the kingdom to follow when shoeing a horse, so that no nails are forgotten in the future.
  • Royal Horseshoe Inspection Checklist