Have you ever dealt with stubborn and recurrent problems that refuse to go away? No matter what you do to solve it, sooner or later, it arises in another form. If yes, then get ready; these are the symptoms of some deeper issues in your operational environment. In such cases quick fixes are convenient, but they are not enough to remove the cause of the particular problem.

To succeed and excel in competition, management must have to focus on careful and strategic planning. Quality management tools as the PDCA cycle and 5W2H analysis are helping organizations to manage problems strategically.

5W2H Analysis

5W2H is a confusing and complicated name, but it’s interesting to know the concept of 5W2H analysis. The 5W2H analysis is based on 5 W’s who, what, when, where, why and 2H’s for how and how much.

In simple terms, the 5W2H method is a powerful and an efficient management tool which helps managers to reveal the underlying cause of a particular problem. This problem solving approach is simple, easy to use and nothing more than a structured, qualified and a practical plan of action along with some distinct stages.

In this dynamic global business environment, fast and agile communication is important because the organizations are facing huge losses in case of errors in transmission of information. Precisely, this method is created to ensure safety from such losses. All the questions in this 5W2H analysis help to clarify the situation completely. For an improvement initiative, it is important to step back and reflect on your current situation. This straightforward and strategic management tool is helping management to improve the process and think improvement opportunities thoroughly through.

5W2H Analysis for Problem Solving

Problem solving is the process of solving the difficult problem through formal and documented techniques. Problem-solving is a thorough analysis and allows other to review the thought process. As compared to the other management methodologies for problem-solving, this tool is simple, complete and dynamic as well as time efficient. It allows timely adjustments and modification after execution of the action plan. This approach is useful for both the businesses as well as the problems at the individual level.

5W2H analysis is similar to an adage “divide and conquer.” It subdivides the whole problem into different stages to give a broader and more comprehensive understanding. This approach facilitates the systematization and implementation of ideas.

Do you know how to solve the problem with the application of the 5W2H method of problem-solving in your organization? Here is an explanation of the 5w2H method which can help you to solve a particular issue effectively and efficiently.

  • Who? – Identify the causes associated with the problem. It can be people or the processes. Characterize the customers who have complaints and identify the operators who are creating difficulties.
  • What? – Adequate description of the problem. Analyze the pattern in the severity of the problem. Make operational definitions clear and analyses if the measurement in the system is accurate and repeatable.
  • When? – It’s an important consideration to know that when the issue is prevailing. Analyzing the frequency of the problem and time of occurrence can help you to make better precautions.
  • Where? – Know the location of the defect. It can help you to check the geographic distribution of customer complaints.
  • Why? – Any known explanation related to possible causes behind certain issue comes at this stage.
  • How? – To answer this question, it is important to analyze the type of situation and the mode of an issue. Examine the procedures which you are using for problem-solving.
  • How Many? – Define the extent of the problem? Analyze if the issue is in statistical control.

How to Use the 5W2H Method Properly

For correct and accurate implication of 5W2H approach, the manager has to plan the answer to all questions strategically. Employees and other collaborators involved in a particular issue can help managers to collect the correct information.

There are three important considerations which you must keep in mind:

  • There must be a strong relationship between the spectrum of action and cause of the problem. Always seek to create lasting rather than palliative solutions.
  • Solutions under this method have to be objective. It must have to avoid all the side effects.
  • Settling for the first good idea is not a viable option. Always go for different situations, increase opportunities and scope of actions for the problem.