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Problem Definition

How will you validate & solve the customers problem?

Root Cause Analysis

When considering your startup ideas, it is essential to consider ‘how your startup will solve the customers problem’. The 5 Whys ‘Root-Cause’ analysis will help you in uncovering the real problems potential customers might face. The 5 Whys is based on the Toyota ‘Go-and-See’ philosophy:

Gaining an in-depth understanding of the systems, processes and conditions of a problem, where ever it may have occurred.

The Go-and-See philosophy is much more effective than just reflecting from a distance on what might have happened!

The 5 Whys

The 5 Whys Tool allows you to identify the root cause of a problem. Identifying the root cause is essential because; understanding the root cause is necessary for fixing a problem. However, one must remember that each time you ask ‘WHY’, you must be looking for an answer that is grounded in fact.

The answer to each ‘WHY’ must be an account of things that have actually happened, and not just events that might have happened. In addition, you must keep asking ‘WHY’ until you feel confident that you have identified the root-cause (may require more that 5 Whys). This is necessary because; when you reach that problem identification point, you can go no further.

When you have finally identified the root-cause (the 5th Why), the required actions needed become evident.

5 Whys (3:00)

Eric Ries

How to find the human causes behind technical problems?

NOTE: video starts & stops at the pre-assigned time

Problem Analysis

To analyze the most pressing customer problems your startup idea might solve (pain points), you can complete a 5 Whys analysis. The 5 Whys (Root Cause Analysis) allows you to ask the 5 Whys for each of your problem hypothesis, and to question the reasoning for your answers. This process helps you better understanding the ‘real problems’ you should be addressing.

Worksheet: 5 Whys Analysis (pdf)


Problem Analysis

Using the 5 Whys analysis worksheet, complete a 5 Whys for your problem hypothesis, and question the reasoning for your answers. This will help you better understanding the ‘real problems’ you should be addressing. 

Do The 5 Whys Analysis Now!

Course Curated By: Dr. G. Danford

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