Quality Problem Solving

Quality Problem Solving-15
Stubborn or recurrent problems are often symptoms of deeper issues.

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" a few more times before you get to the root of the problem.

In other cases, you may reach this point before you ask your fifth "Why? As you work through your chain of questions, you may find that someone has failed to take a necessary action.

Include someone to act as a facilitator, who can keep the team focused on identifying effective counter-measures. Discuss it with your team and write a brief, clear problem statement that you all agree on.

For example, "Team A isn't meeting its response time targets" or "Software release B resulted in too many rollback failures." Then, write your statement on a whiteboard or sticky note, leaving enough space around it to add your answers to the repeated question, "Why? (For example, "Why isn't Team A meeting its response time targets? " sounds simple, but answering it requires serious thought.

This is because 5 Whys can lead you to pursue a single track, or a limited number of tracks, of inquiry when, in fact, there could be multiple causes.

In cases like these, a wider-ranging method such as Cause and Effect Analysis may be more effective.The tool's simplicity gives it great flexibility, too, and 5 Whys combines well with other methods and techniques, such as Root Cause Analysis quality improvement methodology.The model follows a very simple seven-step process: Gather together people who are familiar with the specifics of the problem, and with the process that you're trying to fix.Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique in the 1930s.It became popular in the 1970s, and Toyota still uses it to solve problems today. This means that its decision making is based on an in-depth understanding of what's actually happening on the shop floor, rather than on what someone in a boardroom thinks might be happening.The 5 Whys uses "counter-measures," rather than "solutions." A counter-measure is an action or set of actions that seeks to prevent the problem from arising again, while a solution may just seek to deal with the symptom.As such, counter-measures are more robust, and will more likely prevent the problem from recurring.In this article and in the video, below, we look at the 5 Whys technique (sometimes known as 5Y).This is a simple but powerful tool for cutting quickly through the outward symptoms of a problem to reveal its underlying causes, so that you can deal with it once and for all.An appropriate counter-measure or process change should then become evident.(As we said earlier, if you're not sure that you've uncovered the real root cause, consider using a more in-depth problem-solving technique like Cause and Effect Analysis." In some cases, you may need to ask "Why?

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