Using “5 Whys” to Investigate the Root Cause of Problems – The case: a critical Software Bug

The 5 Whys is a problem-solving technique that involves asking “why” five times to get to the root cause of an issue. Here’s an example of how it can be used to discover the reason why a software project encountered a critical bug:

Example Problem: The software project encountered a critical bug.

5 Whys:

  1. Why did the bug happen? The code was not functioning as expected.
  2. Why was the code not functioning as expected? The code was not properly tested.
  3. Why was the code not properly tested? The testing team did not have enough time to thoroughly test the code.
  4. Why did the testing team not have enough time to thoroughly test the code? The project was behind schedule and the testing phase was rushed.
  5. Why was the project behind schedule? The project had underestimated the amount of work required and had not properly planned the project timeline.


The root cause of the critical bug was poor project planning and underestimating the amount of work required, which resulted in a rushed testing phase and insufficient testing of the code. By using the 5 Whys technique, we were able to identify the root cause of the issue and can take steps to prevent similar problems from happening in the future, such as better project planning and more realistic timelines.

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