Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Exercise in Why Why Analysis or 5 Whys Analysis

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Exercise in Why Why Analysis or 5 Whys Analysis

Many of you trainers may be engaged in conducting workshops/seminars on topics like “problem solving”, “root cause analysis”, “cause and effect relationship”, “quality circles”, “quality circle tools”,  “total quality management (TQM)”, “total productive maintenance (TPM)”, “six sigma’” etc. In that case you must be including a session on “why why (5 whys) analysis in your training programs. Here is an exercise that you can give your participants to help them understand the concept/process of this technique and to get hands on experience in application of  the technique.

After you have given your participants the theoretical exposure of why why (5 whys) technique, explain the technique more clearly by citing a practical example. We are giving below one example as a ready reference for you (or you can use any other example that you have):

Start of the example:

The problem for which you want to find its root cause and solution  (by use of why why analysis) is that your car stops on the road unexpectedly. And then you start applying the technique in the following manner.

1. Why did your car stop? (first why)
– Because it ran out of gas.
2. Why did it run out of gas? (second why)
– Because I didn’t buy any gas (petrol) on my way to work.
3. Why didn’t you buy any gas this morning? (third why)
– Because I didn’t have any money.
4. Why didn’t you have any money? (fourth why)
– Because I over-spent all the money I had on buying many things without any thinking. 5. Why did you do so? Why did you over-spent the money on other items? (fifth why)
– I spent money recklessly on them without any planning. I did not control.

The solution to the problem is making of a monthly budget and controlling the actual expenses as per the plan by periodic review.

End of the example

After citing such an example on why why technique, make few sub-groups of your participants by randomly selecting 5 to 6 persons in each sub-group. Give each sub-group a few problems to solve. They should work together. Tell them that they should apply 5 why technique to find out the root cause of each problem and the solution.

A few problems are suggested below as ready reckoners (or you can use the problems as decided or thought of by you):

  1. Customers are unhappy because they are being shipped products that don’t meet their specifications.
  2. A worker was hurt by a flying chip (the turnings) of metal on his machine.
  3. Car did not start after switching on the ignition key.
  4. Components are being delivered late to the customers.
  5. A particular CNC machine went into breakdown all of a sudden.
  6. A caterer delivered food one hour late for a party.
  7. A lady is trying to loose weight but meeting with no success.
  8. Our team lost the soccer (football) match.

Ask each sub-group to work on these problems by mutual discussions between its members. Arrange for presentations by them on their findings.

Share your observations on how well they applied why why technique in finding the root causes of the problems and solving them. Wrap up the session by giving additional theoretical inputs if necessary.

Get Hold of the Related Books

You can order the following books on “management games and icebreakers” as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:

  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Training in all the soft skills and various management functions/techniques is imparted by Prodcons Group’s Mr Shyam Bhatawdekar and/or Dr (Mrs) Kalpana Bhatawdekar, eminent management educationists, management consultants and trainers- par excellence, with distinction of having trained over 150,000 people from around 250 organizations.

Also refer: (Prodcons Group),
(Training Programs by Prodcons Group), (Productivity Consultants)


About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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