Understand what 5W2H is and how to use this tool to elaborate your company’s actions – WAU

The 5W2H is a checklist for validating a project’s action plan. This tool, through questions, such as “what”, “why”, “where”, “who”, “when”, “how” and “how much” helps in the management of companies and projects.

Have you heard of the 5W2H method? This tool was developed in Japan, by professionals in the automotive industry. The purpose was to serve as an aid in creating action plans.

In practice, the method allows analysis of different strategic aspects for a project. Each acronym in the term has a meaning and represents an analysis.

What will be done, why, by whom, when, where, how and, still, how much it will cost. All of these questions are answered when applying the method that we will show in this content.

Marketing, sales, product development, projects and even daily activities are areas that can explore the 5W2H method for the company to better base its strategies and have a finer effectiveness.

If you also want to study this method and apply it to your company, check out this special content!

What is the 5W2H methodology?

The 5W2H is a checklist for validating a project’s action plan. This tool, through questions, such as “what”, “why”, “where”, “who”, “when”, “how” and “how much” helps in the management of companies and projects.

To better understand what the 5W2H methodology is, first, we need to define the term project. It can be assigned to any action plan that has steps, managers and deadlines.

That said, we can think that, in our company, we develop several projects. An ad campaign on Google Adwords, for example.

You plan your investment, define the values, the communication channels, those responsible for actions and other activities. In other words, you create a project and need to outline its management!

In creating this project, there are different points that must be analyzed, such as a real checklist. So, to standardize these points of analysis in project management, the 5W2H method was created.

What are the main elements?

Each element of the acronym has a meaning. The 5W’s represent “What”, “Why”, “Who”, “When” and “Where”, while the 2H’s represent “How” and “How much”.

To make all the meanings clearer, let’s create an example. Imagine that your company wants to increase sales and has identified that it can achieve this with the purchase of marketing automation software. Let us see, then, how the 5W2H method could be applied in this example.

What – What will be done?

The first W stands for “What”, translated into London, what. What do you want or need to do?

Following our example, you could fill this field with the following formulation: I want to hire a service / software to automate marketing strategies, how to create email marketing automation flows!

Why – Why will it be done?

The second W stands for “Why”, or in London. Here you must determine the reason for what you want to do, why this is necessary and why it is relevant.

In our example, the reason for investing in the software would be to trace a purchase journey and forward the leads until the order is closed.

Who – Who will it be done for?

The third W concerns who will take the determined action. This point is important to designate those responsible. If it is the case of an action plan with several activities and several people in charge, everything must be well described so that there are no errors.

Following our example, let’s assume that you are responsible for evaluating and hiring the software yourself, right?

When – When will it be done?

Now, in room W, let’s determine when the action should take place. Here, we are talking about deadlines and this is fundamental in any project. After all, an action plan without deadlines and steps will certainly not go as expected.

Let’s say that, in our example, the strategy must be applied within a week, with a specific date for hiring.

Where – Where will it be done?

The fifth and final W concerns the place where the action should take place. In some cases, depending on the project, this place can be interpreted as the point at which action will be taken. In our example, we can define here which company will be hired to supply the software.

How – How will it be done?

The first H stands for “How”, or how. In practice, this field is saved for you to specify how the action plan will be taken.

The “How” is extremely important as it is more detailed. You can include more information, even some that are already filled in in other fields.

Following our example, we can fill in this field as follows: software that allows marketing automation will be hired, with automatic sending of email marketing to leads who register on some form or landing page.

How much – How much will it cost?

The last letter, that is, the second H is related to the cost of the action. What are the values ​​that involve that project.

Finishing our example, in this field, we must fill in the values ​​related to the contracting of the software.

What are the advantages of using this method?

Now that you know what 5W2H is, let’s analyze the main benefits that this method can bring to your company.

Guarantee of meeting deadlines and tasks

With the method being applied, all tasks, deadlines and responsible persons will be described, in a very clear and accessible way, for the whole team. This ensures that actions will be taken at the right time, adding term guarantee.

Complete analysis of the action plan

Using 5W2H as a checklist, you will analyze your action plan very thoroughly, with all the points that should receive attention.

Those responsible, deadlines, actions, values, location, everything will be described and filled out clearly for everyone.

Easier to create action plans

Creating a project is not a simple task, especially when this action plan involves many people, activities, deadlines and a high value.

Imagine a building, for example. Many professionals involved, inputs, machines, equipment, companies. All of this needs to be mapped so that planning and execution go together.

To facilitate the management and description of all the necessary points in the plan, the 5W2H method adds greater ease, since there are specific fields for each definition.

Simplified problem analysis

The methodology also manages to add a predictability of defects and errors. This future analysis of your action plan can correct mistakes before they are made.

Optimization of internal processes

Finally, our method under study also optimizes a company’s internal processes. By creating the description of each point, we can better manage internal resources, allocate the right people in charge and, thus, optimize all actions.

You may be interested in these other management and business content!

Balanced Scorecard (BSC): what it is and how to apply this framework
5 steps to map your company’s processes
GUT Matrix: know what it is, what it is for and how to assemble your
Ishikawa diagram: what it is, advantages and how to use it

How to use 5W2H in practice?

The method 5W2H can be applied in different companies and also different projects, large, medium or small. No matter the market niche in which the company is inserted or the persona towards which its actions are directed, this method promises to be of great help for your day to day!

In fact, it is not only at the corporate level that we can apply this action plan checklist! You can also use this strategy for your personal use.

Now, just imagine planning a trip that you want to take. Let’s see if it is possible to apply the 5W2H method on the trip? Come on!

  • What: what an amazing trip to the Caribbean!
  • Why: the trip will be to rest and discover a new destination. And what a destination!
  • Who: who will be traveling as a couple. You and wife (o), girlfriend (o)!
  • When (when will be done): how about scheduling the trip for the mid-year vacation? Closed!
  • Where (where it will be done): ah, you will know the beaches of the Caribbean, with white sand and a clear blue sea!
  • How (how it will be done): the trip will be made through a tourism agency. A guide will be there all the time to show you each attraction, indicate the best places and all the best in the city! In addition, you will be staying in a hotel and, in total, the journey time will be 10 days. You can enjoy it a lot!
  • How much (how much it will cost): your money for this trip is limited to R $ 3,000.00. No spending more than that, okay?

Did you realize how can the method really be applied to just about everything? All the important actions that you need to take, that have a certain degree of complexity, can now receive the application of the methodology.

So, in this article, we saw what the 5W2H method is and how it works. We also saw that this tool can be applied as a check list in several actions, whether in the professional environment, within the company, or in the personal sphere, on a trip, for example.

Stay tuned to each of the elements shown here, their meanings and get their descriptions right. This will ensure that your action plan is a success, with all necessary actions taken and greater alignment between planned and executed!

Now that you’ve learned everything about the 5W2H method, it’s time to make a complete diagnosis of the internal and external factors that involve your business. See what SWOT analysis is and how to put it into practice!