5W2H A simple process improvement tool

August 8, 2012

5W2H stands for 5 Ws and 2Hs or Who, What, When, Where, Whey How and How much.

When working on improving a process this is a very simple tool to help you think thorough improvement opportunities.

Who does this? This can lead to, could we do it with less people?

What is done at this step? This can lead to, can we eliminate some of the steps?

When does this start and finish? This can lead to, can we shorten the time it takes?

Where is this work done? This can lead to, can we do this elsewhere or in various locations?

Why are we doing this? This can lead to, do we need to do this?

How do we do this? This can lead to, is there another way to do this?

How much does this cost? This can lead to, how much would this cost if we made these changes?

These questions help avoid diving right into an assumed solution. They allow us to consider the problem from a range of angles and allow us to drill down for more detail.

These are also excellent when you are stuck and are finding it hard to move forward on an improvement project.

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.


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