What Is It?
The 5 Ws and 1 H is a simple action planning tool. It comprises a set of questions that allows the "full story" to be explored and told. The questions begin with six simple interrogative words: Who? What? Why? Where? When? How?
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
The objective of asking each question is to gain a factual response – facts that are necessary to ensure adequate resources are allocated to the capacity needs assessment (CNA). Importantly, none of these questions can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no".
To ensure that an individual or team is assigned responsibility for conducting the CNA and that adequate resources are provided for the successful completion of the assessment and subsequent development of a capacity-strengthening strategy.
A clear indication of responsibility, resources, time lines and boundaries of the CNA.
The outcomes of this action planning tool must be followed up with firm commitments from management, otherwise the process is a waste of time.
- During the planning process, the planning team needs to ask and answer a series of questions concerning the conduct and resourcing of the CNA. Example questions may be:
- Why? Why do it? Why do it then? Why do it there? Why do it that way?
- When? When is it done? What other times can it be done? What other times should it be done?
- Who? Who does it? Who is responsible for it? Who else can do it? Who should be involved?
- What? What to do? What is already being done? What else should be done?
- Where? Where to do it? Where should it be done? Where can it be done?
- How? How to do it? How should it be done? Is there another way of doing it? How will it be resourced?
- The outcomes should be documented and agreed upon to provide a clear action statement that allows an assessment to move forward with a firm mandate.
Clark, R. and Timms, J. (1999) Continuous improvement and innovation: The better performance process – Ideas, principles, techniques. Rural Extension Centre Course notes, The University of Queensland.