In everyday life, individuals face a lot of things that need to be solved.
One of the tasks scrum masters is responsible for is to remove impediments or, in other words, anything that prevents a team from being effective and productive.
How to do it in the best possible way – learn from our Head of Delivery Yaroslav Rozhankivskyy.

If you are a manager, you work on resolving numerous problems and challenges. There is a clear difference between solving own issues and helping others.
Figuring out what is going inside the head of another individual is challenging.

Let’s take a look at a case where you help others to solve something.
It is important to understand what and why happening.
Where why means to identify the root cause since fixing means removing reason,
not symptoms. The tree in bloom will likely attract us with beautiful flowers.

Otherwise, we may be excited with leaves, branches, and solid trunks.

But the roots are the last thing we will pay attention to, especially if they are underground.
The analogy with a tree is used in many different cases and explanations (like cultural models).
And always roots are the most important or at least initiating point but the least visible component.
We may also refer to a weed in a garden problem to have the best analogy with removing some obstacle.
If we cut a weed on a ground, it will return because roots are untouched,
so removing the reason is the only way to solve a problem.

Very often, when you ask another person to explain why this or that has happened, you will hear about leaves and brunches first.
Don’t worry – there is a technique to go down to the roots. The Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is the best methodology to identify the real reason for a problem.
Let me share a simple approach that does not require any tools – only an ability to ask the right questions based on analytical thinking.

The idea is:

The idea is: that you ask why but if you receive the answer that describes beautiful flowers instead of roots, you continue with the same question why that is directed to an answer that was received.
Like you have asked why A has happened, and the response is because of B.
If B is not a reason, then you ask next, but why B have happened?

Method 5 whys says to ask why questions until you reach the roots of the problem.
It is not always 5 times you must ask why. The idea is that very typically 5 times could be enough to go to the root cause.
It may be more or less than 5 questions, it does not matter, but it works.

Let’s not invent the wheel and use 2 famous examples from the net to see in practice how it works: The worker is late at work and looks upset.
The boss asks, why are you late and look so unhappy?

I got caught speeding.
  1. Why were you caught speeding?Because I was late for work
  2. Why were you late for work? Because I left the house late
  3. Why have you left the house late? Because I woke up late.
  4. Why did you wake up late? Because my alarm clock wasn’t working.
  5. Why wasn’t your alarm clock working? Because the batteries died?

One more example to strengthen the topic but try to practice it on your own. You should know the famous Benjamin Franklin quote how the kingdom was lost because of one nail absence. You could always Google it if you forgot. Just revert a tale and start not from one nail, but from kingdom lost and ask why it was lost before you reach the nail. As a final suggestion – read “Toyota Way”- my favorite book on management. You might be surprised what Kanban means, where Lean and 5 whys come from, and discover the good number of principles that turned into Scum almost 50 years later.

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