Tag Archives: 5w2h


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This is a document for 5W2H problem analysis.  The 5W2H is often used in lean and six sigma process improvement initiatives to help bring clarity to the problems and concerns with the current process.  It is also used in Problem Statement definition as a way to get alignment across stakeholders on the current situation.

5W2H stands for:

  • Who – Who is impacted?  Which people, groups, departments are involved?
  • What – What is issue/concern/problem is occurring?
  • When – What is the timeframe for which the issue has been occurring? When did it begin?
  • Where – Where is the issue/concern occurring?  Is it isolated to certain areas?
  • Why – Why is it a problem?  Why do we care about it?
  • How – How is this done today?  How do we know it is a problem?
  • How Many – How frequently does the issue occur?  Hourly?  Weekly?  Yearly?

The 5W2H is typically used at the beginning of a project. It should be completed before root cause analysis. The exercise of going through each item in the analysis is typically more valuable than the completed document. Often times, the result of the 5W2H analysis is a problem statement that can be used in the “head” of a fishbone diagram during root cause analysis.