Suppose, we have performed the Why-Why analysis to identify the root cause of the problem for the photocopier issue. Once you have discovered why a problem occurs, you then need to find a permanent solution to the problem and this can be easily done by performing the How-How Analysis.

Why-Why Diagram Example

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Solving Why-Why Root Cause with How-How Diagram

Once you have discovered why a problem occurs, the matching question that is asked next is “How?” Given the cause of a problem, the requirement then is to find a solution that will permanently fix the cause. Now, the team attempts to focus on the root causes “Infrequent Servicing” and use the how-how diagram properly fix the problem rather than applying a temporary bandage.

The How-How Diagram works by repeatedly asking the same question of a problem, breaking down the solution into more and more explicit elements. At each stage, there can be multiple answers to the “How” questions, which results in a hierarchical tree-structure. The benefits of How-How Diagram as follows:

  1. It allows a group of people to share the mental model of the situation and hence work more harmoniously on it.
  2. It allows the re-examination of parts of the analysis, so you can change, remove or add to it at any time. This supports the non-linear way in which we tend to think.
  3. It allows you to consciously not to follow some paths, digging only into the most likely areas.

Four Steps for Creating How-How Diagram

The How-How Diagram is used when seeking a practical solution to a problem. It works by repeatedly asking: ‘How can this do this? ‘. It provides an effective structure for organizing and sequencing possible options as the steps described as following:

  1. Write the problem on a Post-it Note and place it to the left of a large work area on the wall. A big sheet of brown paper or several flip-chart pages taped together can help. Note that the starting problem of a How-How session may be the key cause as identified by a preceding Why-Why analysis.
  2. Ask is the problem may be solved? Put the name of the root cause as the root of the how-how tree you are trying to solve in the diagram.
  3. Repeat this sequence of breaking down the problem once more, this time simply asking “How can I do this?” and keep asking How until you have a root cause or a complete solution.
  4. When you have completed the analysis, discuss and identify the key solution to implement.

How-How Diagram Example

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