5 WHYs Framework — Product Management

The 5 Whys strategy is a simple, effective tool for uncovering the root of a problem.
Photo by The 77 Human Needs System on Unsplash
Photo by The 77 Human Needs System on Unsplash

If you are thinking to enter the product management field or are currently in a related role you might know that Product Managers adopt various frameworks in order to develop their roadmaps and take good strategic decisions that would make their products successful.

5 WHYs Frameowrk (credits: aacb.com)

In this story, I would go through a framework called 5 WHYs. So lets get into it!

What is 5 WHYs Framework?


Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese 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.

The 5 Whys strategy is a simple, effective tool for uncovering the root of a problem. You can use it in troubleshooting, problem-solving, and quality-improvement initiatives. Start with a problem and ask why it is occurring.

So in layman language you tackle a problem by Asking the question WHY? .Once you get an answer , you again ask the same question.. WHY?.. usually Product Managers iterate till 5 cycles and get the right answer or root cause for which they are looking for.. But for You it might take less or more WHYs..

5 WHYs Framework for Product Managers

Benefits of 5 WHYs

  • Help identify the root cause of a problem that you are trying to solve.
  • Determine the relationship between different root causes of a problem.
  • One of the simplest tools.

As said by Edward Hodnett-

“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.”

Lets do one problem statement that I found most common on other Product sites..

Problem Statement: You are on your way home from work and your car stops in the middle of the road.

1. WHY did your car stop?
– Because it ran out of gas.

2. WHY did it run out of gas?
– Because I didn’t buy any gas on my way to work.

3. WHY didn’t you buy any gas this morning?
– Because I didn’t have any money.

4. WHY didn’t you have any money?
– Because I lost it all last night in a poker game.

5. WHY did you lose your money in last night’s poker game?
– Because I’m not very good at “bluffing” when I don’t have a good hand.

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