5W2H is a simple but effective quality tool that can be used in several situations, e.g. it is used as part of the problem definition phase in 8D Problem Solving.
It basically defines the problem by asking 7 questions to analyse the situation. The five W’s stand for who, what, when, where, and why, and the two H’s-stand for how and how much.

5W2H’s 7 Questions

  • Who? – Identity individuals associated with the problem. Characterize customers who are complaining. Which operators are having difficulty?
  • What? – Describe the problem adequately. Does the severity of the problem vary? Are operational definitions clear (e.g. defects)? Is the measurement system repeatable and accurate?
  • When? – Identify the time the problem started and its prevalence in earlier time periods. Do all production shifts experience the same frequency of the problem? What time of year does the problem occur?
  • Where? – If a defect occurs on a part, where is the defect located? A location check sheet may help. What is the geographic distribution of customer complaints?
  • Why? – Any known explanation(s) contributing to the problem should be stated.
  • How? – In what mode or situation did the problem occur? What procedures were used?
  • How Many? – What is the extent of the problem? Is the process in statistical control?

Advantages of 5W2H

  • The tool is very effective in analysing a problem, and yet simple and easy to use
  • 5W2H can be applied to any situation, problem or process.

If you are interested in 5W2H and structured problem solving, then our 8D Problem Solving Training might be interesting for you.
It is a detailed training on how to effectively solve problems and prevent them from reoccurring, and cover the use of 5W2H as part of the training.

Alternatively you can continue to our quality training page for an overview of the training we provide.

Go to Quality Training

5W2H Analysis