Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Five Whys

For some reason I remembered back to a Delta Upsilon Leadership conference I attended in Washington DC when I was president of the chapter.

Maybe it was the traffic on the LIE Westbound.

The conference taught the "five whys." It is a technique for finding the root cause of a problem.

Simple technique, you just keep asking why? Five times at a minimum.

Here's a hypothetical Internet advertising example.

Problem: The client is unhappy.

Why? Their campaign didn't launch on time.

Why? Their creatives weren't loaded and launched on time.

Why? Account management didn't collect the creatives on time.

Why? The agency couldn't send the creatives over on time.

Why? The agency did not get the creatives from the creative agency on time.

You can keep going past five whys, but you can see how this technique can quickly drill down to the root cause.

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