Toyota’s Five OctopOSS Whys

The 5 Whys is a question-asking technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem

It is well known that many OSS projects fail to deliver against their initial objectives, some failing to deliver any outcomes at all. There are many reasons why. As mentioned in the Wikipedia quote above, the Toyota Five Why technique is a simple approach for exploring the cause-and-effect relationships of a problem.

When looking at OctopOSS failures, the causes and effects are many and varied, so it was decided to explore some of them using the Five Whys approach. The following link is far from a comprehensive list, but it’s interesting that many of the problems come back to the same root-causes and preventative activities:
Why do so many OSS projects fail – the 5 whys analysis.

The following link explores the use of Five Whys in ITIL, specifically relating to the role of Problem Manager, suggesting “Assemble a team of people knowledgeable about the failing Configuration Item (CI). Include IT and non-IT personnel where appropriate. For example, trying to diagnose the root cause of a failed Change Management process should probably involve Customers as well as IT.

This is an interesting technique that might be worth exploring in later blog entries on more specific problems, such as identifying areas for niche OSS product innovations.

Leave us a message if there’s anything you’d like us to consider using this approach, or any analyses you’ve already done using this technique.

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