jm + postmortems + analysis   1

The Infinite Hows, instead of the Five Whys
John Allspaw with an interesting assertion that we need to ask "how", not "why" in five-whys postmortems:
“Why?” is the wrong question.

In order to learn (which should be the goal of any retrospective or post-hoc investigation) you want multiple and diverse perspectives. You get these by asking people for their own narratives. Effectively, you’re asking “how?“

Asking “why?” too easily gets you to an answer to the question “who?” (which in almost every case is irrelevant) or “takes you to the ‘mysterious’ incentives and motivations people bring into the workplace.”

Asking “how?” gets you to describe (at least some) of the conditions that allowed an event to take place, and provides rich operational data.
ops  five-whys  john-allspaw  questions  postmortems  analysis  root-causes 
november 2014 by jm

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