People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Monthly Method Spotlight: 5 Whys

whyWhat: 5 Whys

When/why: This method is a quick and easy way of problem solving or a conversation starter to get to the root cause of a problem.

How: 1. Write down the specific problem or issue. E.g. a patron’s item hold is not waiting on the hold shelf for them.

2. Ask a why question & write the answer down. – Q: Why was the patron notified if the item is not there? A: The item was registered but not put on the shelf

3. Repeat step 2 four more times with a different why question related to the specific problem or issue. You may ask more or less than 5 why questions to get to the root cause.

Tips: “If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the ABC of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.” – Edward Hodnett


Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.


2 responses to “Monthly Method Spotlight: 5 Whys

  1. Pingback: Halloween Treats, Tips, and Tricks | People Interact

  2. Pingback: Monthly Method Spotlight: Top Ten Posts | People Interact

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