Business Analysis For Dummies
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“Why” is such a powerful question that it’s the basis for a root cause analysis technique called the 5 whys. The thought is that by the time you ask a stakeholder “Why?” 5 times, you generally have arrived at the root cause. Consider this example:

Q:Why did you submit a purchase requisition for $750?”
A: “Because we need to purchase 150 staplers!”
Q:Why do you need to purchase 150 staplers?”
A: “Because our agents need to staple the pages of the driver’s license application together.”
Q: Why do they need to staple those pages together?”
A: “Because we need to keep the two pages together. When we received the new printer, IT changed the default setting from double-sided to single-sided printing, and now we print out two pages rather than one.”

So now you’ve figured out the real problem: It’s the printer settings for the network printer, and it has nothing to do with the stapler. The business created a solution to the problem, but they’re fixing it the wrong way. And you didn’t even need all 5 whys!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Paul Mulvey, CBAP, Director, Client Solutions, B2T Training, has been involved in business analysis since 1995. Kate McGoey, Director, Client Solutions, B2T Training, has more than 20 years' experience in application development and life cycle processes business. Kupe Kupersmith, CBAP, President of B2T Training, possesses more than 14 years of experience in software systems development. He serves as a mentor for business analysis professionals.

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