Posted by tac_admin, January 7, 2015

How to Use the 5 WHYs in Business Analysis

blue question markThe 5 WHYs?

You’re probably familiar with this effective business analyst strategy, even if you’re not sure what it is or have never used the technique in your career.

To explain how the 5 WHYs serve as a career-building technique for business analysts, I have to start with an unusual analogy.

Have you ever noticed how young children constantly ask the question “why?” For us adults, the endless stream of “why” questions may feel like a nuisance, because after the third iteration, we stop knowing the answer.

When it comes to providing transformational solutions for all your clients, it’s highly important that you are able to answer the WHY behind every problem you identify.

In doing so, you will identify (and hopefully remove) the root cause of the most devastating issues that your stakeholders face.

That’s because you’ve identified the actual root cause, not a byproduct of the root cause. This misidentification is often the downfall of many otherwise successful projects.

In other words, the root cause is very often disguised, but if you implement the 5 WHYs strategy, you will uncover the main source of frustration for your stakeholders.

Translation: you will earn respect, more opportunities, and a higher income as a business analyst.

The lingering question is…

How does the Five WHYs Technique Function in the BA World?

The best way to implement BA techniques is to apply strategies in a real-world scenario, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

The problem: your client is a call center whose profits have taken a nosedive–$5 million fewer dollars than the previous year. (Yikes!)

In order to find the root cause of the problem, and provide a transformative solution, simply ask WHY this problem occurred in the first place…

And ask WHY 5 times.

Why #1: The surveys said customer service was bad.

Why #2: The wait times in the call center were 10 minutes on average, when the time should have been less than 2 minutes.

Why #3: The employee training was behind schedule.

Why #4: There was a high turnover rate, and new employees and their trainers couldn’t keep up with demand.

Why #5: The software was outdated, difficult to use, and consistently malfunctioned, so employees became frustrated and left for other companies.

And therein lies your root cause.

When you break through, and get into the nitty-gritty of root cause analysis, that’s when you have the golden opportunity to provide a lasting solution that rectifies even the most devastating problems.

By implementing new, user-friendly software that new and seasoned employees could learn in minutes, the company would then regain their lost profits because employee performance and customer service would improve exponentially.

Ready to find out how you’ll accelerate your BA career?

Schedule a Free 15-Minute Strategy Session with Me.


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