The “5 Whys”​ and Current Events

If you stop asking why too soon, you’ll miss the root cause.

Protesters overtaking and burning the Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct. Photo by Hungryogrephotos
In my industry we have a diagnostic tool called the “5 Whys”. It’s taken from Toyota because software developers like to pretend we’re in manufacturing.

The idea is that many problems have more than a single cause. If you treat the most obvious reason but miss the underlying system that led to the situation in question, everything’s going to break all over again.

A classic example would be a car not starting. Keep asking “why” until you get to the main cause.

Continue reading “The “5 Whys”​ and Current Events”


On the one hand, close to 103,000 Americans have died from a pandemic and people who thought a temporary closure of physical locations was excessive got their demonstration in with no problem. And then Wisconsin justices met remotely to decide that the temporary closure shouldn’t stand.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why it’s only right that we have freedom. Hang on to that for a minute.

On the other hand a man was murdered in Minnesota, we all had the opportunity to see it happen, and the killer wasn’t arrested during peaceful protests. He was, however, arrested after a riot and a police station burned down. 3 other associated people remain, as I understand it, without charges.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why there is a process and this is the fastest a Minneapolis officer has ever been arrested. Hang on to that for a minute.

Hang on to those explanations because people display their priorities with their day-to-day actions. The end doesn’t always justify the means but it does show the choices we made along the way.

Continue reading “Priorities”