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Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
Five Whys Lessons Learned
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Five Whys Lessons Learned

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Lessons about introducing the five whys method at IGN.

Lessons about introducing the five whys method at IGN.

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  • 1. Five Whys Lessons Learned
    • Introducing five whys in established business
    • Tony Ford | @tony4d | March 1, 2011
  • 2. Origin
    • The five whys is a lean startup technique introduced to entrepreneurs and software developers by Eric Ries
    • Like most of the lean startup principles it’s roots are in the Toyota Production System - preserve value with less work by eliminating waste
  • 3. IGN wants to learn how to become more lean
    • We invited Eric Ries to speak at IGN in early December 2010
    • One obvious and cheap thing to implement right away was five whys
    • Tony Ford was selected as the first (humble) five whys master
    • In the spirit of lean we have conducted many five whys sessions and learned a lot
  • 4. What is the five whys technique? http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2296
  • 5. What is most important?
    • Five whys encourages us to spend a portion of our time addressing problems in ways that maximize the value output and avoid waste.
    • The sweet spot between being too busy to do anything and insisting we must spend a lot of time correcting.
    • We are most successful when we find human process problems we can correct. These are the real root causes.
    • This isn’t about blame, it’s about learning together .
  • 6. We started off pretty rough
    • Shove everything through the five whys!
    • Early examples: Huge list of previous issues, NIB, babes legal issues
    • We learned
  • 7. Early lessons
    • Don’t shove your baggage into the process. Send new problems into the process as they come up
    • The session should always be kicked off with two things
      • Ask if there are five whys n00bs at the session. If so, take 5 minutes to explain it
      • Clearly state the problem we’re trying to solve
    • Use the wiki to document each session. Sticky notes and emails are waste.
  • 8. Our first feeling of success
    • Native iOS project slip five why session was the first time I knew we had to keep doing this.
    • We identified real human problems and came up with good proportional investments.
    • This is about learning and doing .
  • 9. More bumps in the road, more learning
    • We kept learning, but we forgot about doing.
    • The five whys master has two major functions
      • Coordinate, run, and document the sessions
      • Follow up on proportional investments
    • The sessions optimize learning what we should invest in improving. The sessions are waste if we don’t actually spend time improving anything afterwards.
  • 10. Later lessons
    • The wiki is great for documentation but not great for getting things done. Use pivotal tracker for proportional investments.
    • https://www.pivotaltracker.com
    • The five whys master should be responsible for follow up on the proportional investments that come out of their sessions.
  • 11. Recent success
    • The five whys on our recent blogs outage is a great example.
    • We shared it with our audience on our blog: http://www.ign.com/blogs/ign-tech/2011/02/17/blogs-outage-and-five-whys/
  • 12. wisdom++
    • We need to scale the process with more masters. I have not had time to do all sessions.
    • Schedule 30 minutes for a session, you’ll need it.
    • The sessions should be held immediately following the problem symptom. The longer you wait the less value the session has (and you’ll waste more time).
  • 13. wisdom++
    • Five is a guide. It is there to help us with a minimum. Avoid too many.
    • Avoid unnecessary branches by keeping answers as close to the questions as possible. The goal isn’t to list problems, it’s about quickly identifying a root cause.
    • Invest proportionally for the cause. “Don’t do too much and don’t do nothing.”
  • 14. wisdom++
    • The five whys master has ownership and authority for the sessions and proportional investments.
    • We tried sessions on a lot of different types of problems and got tripped up. Stick with website outages until you’re comfortable with the process.
    • Processes fail, not people.
  • 15. Excellent Lean Startup & Five Whys Resources
    • Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tony4d
    • Follow Eric Ries on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ericries
    • Five whys blog posts from Eric Ries: http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/search/label/five%20whys%20root%20cause%20analysis

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