The 5W1H method: ask the right questions to find solutions as a team


The 5W1H method

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Try the 5W1H method for very simple project management by answering these questions: who, what, where, when, how and why? Let your team have their say, hold a discussion and bring up the most important points. It's the ideal strategic analysis template to pursue goals methodically, to make decisions and collectively develop an action plan.

The 5W1H or 5W2H method to build a comprehensive action plan quickly

Do you need to delve into a topic or situation, solve a problem, analyze an event or simply find out how to achieve your goals? No matter what kind of solutions you are looking for right now in your project management, it is essential to ask yourself all the right questions to find them.

Who? What? Where? When? How? How much? Why? With the 5W1H, template, also known as 5W2H by adding the question "How much?" to the six traditional questions, nothing crucial will be overlooked as you take stock of your project and find a better way forward. This method uses six or seven simple questions to analyze a situation from all angles as a team, and achieve a goal or solve a problem.

In the office, working remotely or for hybrid work, your team can meet on Board, Klaxoon’s whiteboard, and have their say to explore the topic in depth, discuss it and find the most appropriate answers. This strategic analysis template is ideal to collectively identify an action plan and move your project management forward without forgetting anything.

With your team, easily add your ideas related to any of the six (or seven) questions to move forward.

The benefits of 5W2H for project management

A questioning method originally attributed to Aristotle, 5W2H helps teams analyze a situation and solve problems. With this 5W2H method template, you can approach a topic from different angles by asking the right questions.

Often, teams struggle to solve a problem because everyone has different perceptions of a given situation and tends to look at it only from their own perspective, based on their knowledge and experience. The workshop based on the 5W2H method makes it possible to turn this challenge into an advantage by conducting a detailed analysis of the situation, constructively, based on logical and systematic questioning. In this way, the problem is examined from all angles, broken down, every aspect can be seen clearly, points of view are exchanged and the field of possible solutions is wide open.

Despite this extensive analysis, the 5W2H method is extremely simple, both in the way it is implemented and actually used. In addition, it’s a method that encourages broad and constructive questions, which is very useful when it comes to team project management.

How to apply the 5W2H method with Klaxoon

Start by preparing the 5W1H (or 5W2H) template, indicating the subject or situation you are going to analyze, as well as the date and associated project if necessary. Once your team members are invited to your whiteboard, you can check that everyone is on the same page by asking a Storm Question to create a wordcloud.

Ready for some brainstorming? We advise you to time how much time is spent on each question, three minutes for example, using the timer. Follow the questions in the right order because this will methodically lead you to your action plan. From “What?” to describe the situation up to “Why?” to get a bird's eye view.

  • What: what happened, what can we see?
  • Who: who is affected, who detected the problem?
  • Where: where did it happen, on which machine or station?
  • When: when, how many times and since when?
  • How: how did it happen?
  • How much: what costs, means or resources does this involve?
  •  Why: for what purpose, to what end?

Once you have sent all your ideas, in order, to each box, review them collectively. If there are too many, you can ask participants to “like” the three or four most appropriate ones in their opinion, by clicking on the heart button. You can also ask a Question under an idea, to explore it in more depth or reach an agreement. Participants respond directly on the Board to facilitate collective decision-making.

Have all the questions been covered? All you have to do now is identify the resulting actions. Don’t forget to assign each one to a team member, who then enters their name in Dimensions for the appropriate idea. And that's it: your action plan is ready!

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