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When in DMAIC to use 5 Whys

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  • #52234

    Ward
    Participant

    Hi
    Having a “chicken and the egg” conflict with use of  5 Whys and even fishbone to ID potential root causes. Is it in M or A phase? Here’s my view:
    I would use Fishbone in M to brainstorm on potential causes. For some of them, I might use 5 whys to dig into root cause. After, I would use multi-voting to ID which of the potential root cause I would add to my data collection plan.
    I read that Fishbone and 5Why would fit more in Analysis phase…to perform what?  To me Analysis phase is about analyzing data collected in M phase to confirm root causes, using statistics, not qualitative approach such as fishbones and 5 Whys. 
    Comments welcome

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    #183574

    Kaare
    Participant

    You do not find the root-cause untill the analyze state, so that is where I would put 5 whys…
    In Define you define the problem, and identify the KPI’s
    In Measure, you baseline your process so you can prove the improvement later.
    In Analyze, you identify the causes of variation and defines the needed change.
    In improve, you design the change and implements it
    In Control, you prove the change (benchmark the measured value of the improved process against the baseline), and make sure the previous state can not occur again (update documentation and maybe implement SPC).
    Hope this helped…

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    #183576

    Vallee
    Participant

    Never say never.. after all how do you know you find the problem in define to begin with. There is no step in DMAIC that can not be helped by another step.

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    #183577

    GB
    Participant

    Kaare,
    You should stop giving advice…It is clear that you are in no position to offer any.

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    #183581

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Pete,
    There is an inherent problem in restricting the use of any tool to any step in the DMAIC process. Once you do that you start getting the mindless execution of tools (tool zombies) without any understanding of what you want to know and what tool shows you that information.
    If you can simply understand the point of each step of the DMAIC process and answer two questions it will lead you to correct tool – regardless of what step you are in:
    1. what is a defect?
    2. how do I measure that defect?
    5 whys are just like fishbone diagrams, C&E matrix, brainstorming it is predominately opinion based. Most of what you get needs to be validated with data.
    Just my opinion.
    Good luck

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    #183596

    Ward
    Participant

    Thanks Mike… great insight;
    True I actually feel like a tool Zombie!  question to anyone– But in the context of teaching DMAIC (I am working on refreshing the GB curriculum), where does Fishbone and 5whys fit best? what is the rational?
     
     

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    #183599

    Torrance
    Participant

    Pete – it seems you have read the responses, but
    not actually taken them in. So, I guess my post
    just repeats what the other guys have already
    suggested.It doesn’t really matter where you use 5 whys or
    fishbone diagrams etc – use them wherever it suits
    the specific project best.You are only constraining yourself, and therefore
    those who are within the GB curriculum by trying to
    place tools into specific buckets. If it helps – try to think of DMAIC as a flow,
    rather than batches. That way, the phases become
    less critically defined, and whether 5 whys falls
    into Measure or Analyse doesn’t matter as much.Can I also suggest that your approach may not be to
    try to ‘teach DMAIC’ – but that you get the GB
    candidates together in a team, and work through a
    real genuine problem – using tools wherever they
    are appropriate.Davy T

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    #183600

    Torrance
    Participant

    Hi Pete – seems you have read and acknowledged the
    previous posts, but haven’t taken them in.It doesn’t really matter where you use these tools
    – you can use them in various stages of your
    problem solving efforts.Trying to specify which phase of DMAIC they go in
    only constrains you, and those who are being
    ‘taught’. If it helps, think of DMAIC more as a FLOW, rather
    than 5 BATCHES. That way, the critically defined
    boundaries of each phase no longer exist – but it
    still takes you through the correct thought
    processes.Davy T

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    #183602

    Robert S
    Member

    They fit best in the curriculum at the first place one might use them. Kinda hard to come to a place where they are of benefit yet one learns them later in the training…ya think?

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    #183603

    Ron
    Member

    Pete,
    You have an interesting problem statement; Tool usage as many have replied is subjective. However, You would not use either ofthese tools in the Define Phase or in the Control phasein most cases
    The problem with tools such as you have mentioned is that they do not carry and statistical validity. As such many people like to use them because it gives them the answer they wantedto hear.
    I like to think of the DMAIC steps associated with deliverables, i.e.
    D – Business Case for expending time and effort to solve a validated  problem statement
    M – A more focused problem statement based on the collection and analysis of data
    A- Root Cause (statistically verified) of the focused problem statement yourr team determined in the M phase
    I- An action plan to implement solutons to the root causes from the A phase. with verification that they solved the issue in the short term
    C- Financial results and a control plan to validate the solution in the long term
    Fish bones and 5 whys are brainstorming tools to help your team develop real solutions based on hard data that are statistically valid

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    #183606

    Vallee
    Participant

    Ron,I purposely stayed way from the usefulness of some of these tools mentioned based on what I teach and use now.. didn’t want to market blatantly. It was nice to see someone else discuss when to use these tools to help come up with solutions and when they are not effective.The point he seems to miss is that defining the problem is not as simple as voting and brainstorming if you do not have the data or understand the process. The point being understanding the DMAIC steps and what their goal is. While it is okay in intro knowledge to see basic examples of how to use some tools during a step, people fail to see what is set in stone and what is not. It is like giving someone a calculator, show them how to press some buttons and get something and then not know what the numbers truly measure.

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    #183607

    Amer
    Participant

    As rule of thumb, 5 whys are used in the analyze phase when data is not available to ID root causes. However, an extra caution is needed to formulate the questions to ask the team to ID root causes. The link below has a mouse and cheese example that will guide you to the application of 5 whys. https://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c050516a.asp
    Hope this helps.

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    #183619

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    Happens all the time. MSA in Measure Phase uses ANOVA and ANOVA doesn’t get taught until Improve Phase.

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    #183626

    Robert S
    Member

    Kinda hard to use it before you learn it, huh?

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    #183635

    Pettersen
    Participant

    Just my comments,
     
    There is a lot of good inputs to Petes question and I am not arguing that there are a lot of ”tool zombies” out there. This is a common problem in the beginning of a VBLSS career when the person is quite insecure and need guidance. Then it is easy to look at the road map and identify some tools in each phase and trying to create a good project based on that.
    This is of course not the right way to go, which make the MBB role very important in order to guide and help each Black Belt candidate (or Green Belt candidate).
     
    I want to raise the question what would happen during a Black Belt training if we do not follow the DMAIC phases? Mike Carnell said it very well when he stated that there is two question we always need to be able to answer and will lead us to the correct tool.
    However, we still need to teach the tools and therefore I would say one can put tools under a certain phase. But as I mentioned earlier, it is extremely important that the MBBs explain what has been said regarding Petes question. You should use the tools due to the situation and problem, not based on where we are in the DMAIC process.
     
    If I were the one to answer your question Pete, I would put Fishbone (which is a way of structure your 5 whys) in the analyse phase. BUT, during training really emphasize that each tool in NOT limited to the specific DMAIC step.

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    #183646

    HF Chris
    Participant

    Fredrik,You might want to follow the posts a little more closely. It was not stated not to follow the DMAIC steps. It was stated by many that tools are not defined by their step but their need. It was stated by many that one needs to truly understand what the steps represent and that the process is not a one-way road. There are often times that require you to redefine your initial DMAIC findngs in each step. It can’t be stated any easier… tools do not define the step, they are defined by their need.

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    #183648

    Ward
    Participant

    Thanks Fred and all the others… very interesting insight

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    #183655

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    Evidently not. We have been teaching it this way since Minitab put the MSA into the software with the ANOVA method.

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    #183656

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chris,
    we have touched on this a couple times in the past and it typically goes to the actual working knowledge of the instructor for the class. You can teach DMAIC a couple ways. You can use DMAIC to teach tools which typically leaves that link in peoples heads that if I am using this tool I must be in __X__ Phase. The other way is to use the tools to explain the DMAIC methodology so that the focus is on understanding the intent of the phase and how the tool provides the information. That creates a better understood relationship between the tool and the information rather than the tool and the Phase.
    Just my opinion

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    #183658

    Vallee
    Participant

    All I can say is.. yep!

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    #183659

    Robert S
    Member

    Well, that doesn’t make much sense then does it? How much more rudimentary can a concept be that you must teach how to use something at the time it is intended to be used.

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    #183661

    Johncox
    Participant

    I have used both even in the project selection phase, to help define why the problem that has surfaced exists.  That can focus you on what process, or where in the process to focus as you charter and scope the project.  However within the formal structure of DMAIC, I use the fishbone or C&E matrix (depending on the type of project) to identify the “suspect” inputs prior to doing an FMEA in Measure (although our trainers said there is some controversy as to whether FMEA’s are Measure or Analyze.  I haven’t used 5 “whys” all that often in a formal way, but certainly it informs the analyze phase and can also be used during improvement.

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    #183662

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    That would be one way to look at it. If I agreed with you I would have to be pretty stupid to keep doing it that way so obviously we seem to have been able to make it work. It was done that way the entire time you were at Qualtec. 
    We were doing Executive training at Emerson Electric and had a guy that no matter what was said always need a deeper explaination. Jim Athon was teaching the section (amazingly enough on MSA) and asked the guy why he needed to understand some particular detail. The guy said he could understand anything unless he understood all the detail. Jim’s response was “I don’t understand how fuel injection works but I know how to drive a car.”
    Basically with Minitab doing the analysis you teach people to read the output and how to interpret it. They get how the analysis is done later. Not a big issue so the answer to your question is yes it does make sense.
    Just my opinion

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    #183663

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Chris,
    Just keep an eye on this. The silence will be deafening.

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    #183664

    Robert S
    Member

    But Mike, you changed the rules re: ANOVA. If all you need to know is to click a tab in Minitab, then, yes, that’s all you need to teach… because, by definition, that’s all they need to know. I thought your first post implied they needed to understand ANOVA in Measure, as part of MSA, but it wasn’t taught until Analyze. Are we playing word games?

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    #183666

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    I don’t know if we are playing word games. I am not. My first post didn’t say anything about ANOVA.
    My second post:
    “Robert S,
    Happens all the time. MSA in Measure Phase uses ANOVA and ANOVA doesn’t get taught until Improve Phase.”
    If you decide that that is an implication that would be your issue not mine and none of the rules have changed.
    What is your point?

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    #183667

    Pettersen
    Participant

    I do not disagree with you Chris. I am surprised you got that from my post. What I am saying and what I use in my teaching is to follow the DMAIC roadmap where the tools are to be found under each phase. With that said I once again say that a huge responsibility lays on the MBB in order to make the students to understand that the tools can and should be used when they can contribute to the success of the project and not depending on which phase we are. When I teach I try to use examples how I used the tools in different phases and I not mention the examples in Analyze phase when we are in Measure for example, I think it is more powerful to keep getting back to the tools.
    We probably think different but I do not think it is a problem that a specific tool is mentioned under a specific phase where it most often is used.

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    #183668

    Robert S
    Member

    Mike, you’ve lost me…I don’t know what your point is.
    I made a simple, straightforward point to Pete who asked when something should be taught – I said it should be taught when it is first used.
    Then you posted your statement about ANOVA…for what purpose I don’t know. What point were you trying to make with that statement?
    Seemed you were trying to contradict me and say you needn’t teach something at its point of use. Try flying an airplane before being taught how to…but make certain your will is in order first.

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    #183669

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robrt S,
    ANOVA is first used in Measure. The tool is taught in Analyze. Pretty straight forward.

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    #183670

    Robert S
    Member

    Great – thanks for sharing. I guess Pete knows where to put Fishbone & 5 Whys now.

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    #183672

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    Let’s hope he understands he doesn’t need to put them anywhere except in his head.
    Just my opinion.

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    #183673

    Robert S
    Member

    We’ve beat this to death yet I think you missed Pete’s question in this portion of the string – he asked where they should be taught during a GB course. I said “teach them at the first point you use them”. You said – well I don’t know what you said; but I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with his question.

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    #183674

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Robert S,
    I can live with the fact that you didn’t get it.
    As far as what you are sure of? It doesn’t really make me any difference.

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    #183675

    Vallee
    Participant

    Thanks for clarifying your position… the following phrase is still ambiguous every time I read it: “follow the DMAIC roadmap where the tools are to be found under each phase.”This is where people get confused in training too. Since the tools are grouped under certain buckets (under each phase), people believe it is a rigid and inflexible list.

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    #183678

    Vallee
    Participant

    Pete,
    You ever feel like you have one foot nailed to the ground and are running around in circles? I would like to change your focus and while this may seem unorthodox to some, I want you to focus on what you expect your Greenbelts to do. This will guide you as to what you need to teach.1. Will they be defining their own projects… caution here unless you have checks put in place to check their choice2. Will they be setting their own baseline metrics?3. How will they analyze their defined problem? 4. Who will develop the improvements (or corrective actions)? 5. Will they be facilitating a team or will it be only changes in their own department?6. What role will they play in the control phase?7. Will they be working their own project or be working in groups?8. What is the role of the BB or MBB in mentoring? I will not lecture on this one.The point being… what is the task? What do they need general knowledge on? What will they be doing by themselves? How will they be tested? How do you know you did a good job training? Has it impacted the business positively (caution.. do not mass train unless you have a reason and a controlled purpose)Hope this prevents running in circles again! Look of ADDIE or DACUM/AMOD for more general knowledge concerning training.

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    #183679

    Dog
    Participant

    Robert S: 1
    Mike Carnell: 0

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    #183681

    Pettersen
    Participant

    Chris:
    “With that said I once again say that a huge responsibility lays on the MBB in order to make the students to understand that the tools can and should be used when they can contribute to the success of the project and not depending on which phase we are”
    I think we have the same oppinon, but my exprience is that it is beneficial to have a LSS roadmap as an overview, specially if VBLSS is something new for the person.
    BUT, I am on your side, the tools should be used due to the situation in the project and not due to a specific phase.

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