What Is a 5W2H Analysis? (And How To Use One Effectively)

5W2H is a tool that provides guiding questions when assessing a process or problem. The five W’s-who, what, when, where, and why, and the two H’s-how and how much – force you to consider various facets of the situation being analyzed.

straight to the point: what is 5W2H

When to use a 5W2H analysis

For both personal and professional issues, the 5W2H analysis process can be helpful. The technique aids in the precise and accurate description of a problem, which can lead to an effective solution. The best way to solve a problem and enhance an existing procedure can be determined by thoroughly analyzing all of its components. The system aids in project workflow identification and prioritization, and it assists teams in creating time-bound action plans to finish projects.

Because the framework aids in defining the necessary steps to achieving desired objectives in an effective and efficient manner, the 5W2H system streamlines strategic planning. It guarantees that you examine a goal from all angles and clearly outline its steps to specify what an organization or person can do specifically to achieve it.

What is a 5W2H analysis?

A 5W2H analysis is a quality management tool that can be used without any special equipment or training. Professionals employ this technique to quickly analyze and address issues. The initials 5W2H stand for the first questions a professional asks when applying this process, which include:

A 5W2H analysis aids in problem interpretation and the gathering of information necessary for a successful solution. Then, a person or group develops a model that makes it clear what concrete steps they can take to ensure a resolution. This methodology is frequently used by businesses to enhance strategic planning and evaluate issues with production or service delivery. Many businesses can utilize this tool’s simplicity to do so and produce a logical action plan for both straightforward and complicated project management.

How to create a 5W2H analysis

The following procedures can be used to effectively create a 5W2H analysis:

1. Review the situation

Whether it’s a meeting for problem-solving or project planning, this involves making the situation clear to each party involved. Try to make sure that everyone knows why you’re creating a 5W2H and how the procedure works. Finally, think about figuring out what the team wants to achieve by describing the desired result.

2. Develop appropriate 5W2H questions

You can come up with questions to make an effective framework by analyzing 5W2H ones. Some questions may require two individual answers. For instance, the word “why” can be used to describe both the cause of a problem and its need for a solution. Taking into account multiple viewpoints at this stage might draw your attention to circumstances or issues that you might not have noticed otherwise.

3. Answer each question

The following step is to apply the analysis and respond to each query. Consider coming up with a strategy for answering any questions that don’t elicit an immediate response. When a group or individual responds to one question, it frequently logically results in responses to the following questions.

4. Implement the solution

A framework for implementing a solution is provided by a completed 5W2H analysis. When using this tool to solve problems, the responses to the questions frequently provide advice on how to do so. The answers provide a preliminary project plan for achieving your desired result when using this method for project planning or to accomplish a goal. Even though more information might be required, a 5W2H analysis can provide you with enough information to begin putting a plan or solution into action.

What does each question in a 5W2H analysis mean?

For each circumstance, the responses to 5W2H analysis questions may differ. To help you understand how to use this process effectively, here is an explanation of each of the seven questions:


The first step of the 5W2H process is to respond to this question, during which a team or professional defines the issue or objective. The response gives a summary of the issues that the 5W2H analysis aims to solve. When responding, make an effort to clearly describe the problem and specify the ideal outcome to be obtained.


Identifying the reasons behind a problem’s occurrence or the significance of a goal is the following step in this procedure. If at all possible, try to define why the issue is occurring by identifying its root cause when using this question to solve a dilemma. Determining the reasons why resolving the issue is necessary could also be useful. Determining the motivation behind a goal, for instance, can assist each team member in comprehending why they must carry out specific tasks. This is a crucial part of the tool because it provides direction for a goal or project and enables a person or team to comprehend its importance.


Clarifying the location of a problem or the likely location of a solution is what this step entails. It identifies the location where a person can find a solution to a problem. For instance, if there is a machine-related issue, the analyst may identify the machine in question and the environment in which it is present. If it’s a customer issue, think about pinpointing the precise client location and seeing if there are any other issues there.

Finding the potential locations for the actions necessary to achieve a goal during this step may be included. This section, for instance, identifies the locations of potential project meetings and tasks if a project involves several areas or departments.


This step entails determining the timetable for when a team can put a fix in place for a problem or carry out each action necessary to reach a goal. This step might entail setting delivery dates for each project step. During this phase, setting milestones and deadlines can help determine the necessary sequence of events and any necessary backup plans for the project’s steps.


This could refer to a number of various aspects of a problem or project, like:

During this phase, a manager or supervisor can clearly assign team members to tasks to avoid ambiguity, repetition, or missing steps.


A process for resolving a problem, putting forward a solution, or achieving a goal is created by thoughtfully answering this question. During this stage, a team clarifies every action that must be taken and assigns it to particular people. The creation of a flowchart, framework, or project plan may be useful in this situation. The team then decides which software and methodologies to employ in order to fix the problem.

How much?

A team estimates the anticipated budget for its project during this stage. A team or specific individuals can estimate the costs for each stage of their project using the previously mentioned information. This can also refer to the quantity of a product being remade at a particular price when solving a production issue. Consistent accountability follow-up checks may be helpful when using this for budgeting purposes to make sure that a team stays within its budget throughout the entire process.

Example of a 5W2H analysis

Here is an illustration of a 5W2H analysis for raising a sales team’s output:

A manager and analysis team can use this straightforward framework to get started looking into options for replacement software. The “how” stage can assist the group in producing a detailed flowchart for the software testing and analysis procedure.

Tips for using 5W2H analysis effectively

Although no specialized knowledge or equipment is required to perform a 5W2H analysis, following are some useful hints for doing so successfully:

Assign a facilitator

Consider appointing one person to facilitate meetings when using this method with a group or team. In this capacity, the facilitator is in charge of making sure the meeting remains pertinent, compiling all pertinent data, and guiding the conversation toward a beneficial resolution. A manager or team member who fully comprehends the issue or objective can serve as an efficient facilitator.

Use brainstorming techniques

This procedure is straightforward enough that neither special knowledge nor equipment are required to complete it. A facilitator can lead a 5W2H discussion by using their creativity and problem-solving abilities. The first response might not be the best option, so consider several alternatives to find the best response for each step of the process.

Address the seven 5W2H questions in any order

You can vary the order in which you respond to the 5W2H questions. A team can move on to the next question if they are unable to come up with an adequate response to one. The other solutions frequently become obvious as a group moves through the process. Depending on the type of issue or problem you’re facing, the order of the questions may also change.

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