Brenda asks, "Why?"
After determining that the quality management project would focus on the cause of the image bleed on the t-shirts (because almost 2/3 of the t-shirts produced by her company show this defect), Brenda begins to ask "why" to determine the cause of the problem. At the top of a sheet of paper, she writes "2/3s of t-shirts produced bleed through the material from a severity range of barely noticeable to highly noticeable."
Underneath this, she writes, "Why?"
"The t-shirt fabric is too thin." This first response can't be possible, because the company carefully researched the fabric and the ink for the project to ensure the materials would work. So, she looks for an alternate cause and comes up with:
"The ink isn't drying fast enough."
"Why not?" She asks the question, again, to get closer to the root cause of the problem.
"Because the presses are using too much ink." If this is the answer, it would also solve another problem the company has been experiencing, the blurring of images printed on 1/3 of all shirts produced.
Another potential problem at this stage could be that the ink ordered wasn't correct for the project. However, Brenda checks the inventory logs and finds that this isn't the case.
"But why are the presses using too much ink?"
"Because the presses haven't been properly calibrated."
It seems as though this last answer is a contender. Brenda sits down with her project team and constructs a plan for changing the calibration on the machines.