5 x Why (5W) is a questioning technique for identifying the root cause of a problem. (Also view: Root Cause Analysis, Problem Solving).


To avoid being satisfied with a superficial answer. It is the goal to construct a logical explanation chain.

How it works:

Don‘t be satisfied with the first answer. Ask five times (or more often if necessary) until you are at the core of the problem.

Practitioner’s Tip: Once further questioning does not help you to influence the process, you can stop asking „Why“ (e.g. When the organization of the company would need to be changed).


Five whys, 5 whys, 5W