5W2H Action Plan: What is it and how do you do it?

Control action plans with the 5W2H tool
Excel Spreadsheets

The action plan 5W2H is a tool for simplifying activity planning. It can be used in various contexts of business management normally, in the transformation of the results of a strategic planning in action or in project management, especially in the case of consulting firms and services.

See also:
All about Quality Management

What are we going to see in this article?

For a company that wants to grow in a healthy way, that is, through good planning, the use of 5W2H action plans it is necessary, in addition to bringing practicality and organization to the decision-making process. To better understand these advantages, in today's article we will present this tool to control the action plans of a company. Come on?


What is the 5W2H action plan?

5W2H Definition

5W2H is a methodology for elaborating action plans. Through it, projects specified from the XNUMX response are queried related to the letters "W" and "H": What?; Who?; When?; Where?; Why?; How?; How much?.

Action plan 5w2h image

5W2H is basically a methodology for defining and executing activities. It is used when there is a need to preparation of an action plan. Be it a great project or a simpler action such as acquiring a new computer for the office. With this tool, the company prevents generic activities and goals from being defined.

For example, instead of defining in a meeting "buy computer", it will be defined quite simply:

  • What? Buy a computer
  • Who? Paulo, administrative assistant
  • When? Next week
  • Where? Online, on the site of one of the 3 suppliers previously evaluated and qualified
  • Why? Due to the entry of a new employee in the marketing area
  • How? Paul will validate the settings with the technology area, the budget with the financial and, using the designated corporate card, will make the purchase for delivery before the turn of the month.
  • How much will it cost? The budget defined by the financial is $ 1.800.

The manager who uses 5W2H knows he needs to divide each objective into action plans. And they need to follow a good practice manual to get them done. Often a plan of action fails because it has no deadline or responsibility. The 5 "W" if the 2 "H" s were created precisely to avoid these failures.

Origin of Action Plan 5W2H

The concept that originated 5W2H is as old as probably civilization itself. He was long attributed to Hermágoras de Tiene, a former Greek philosopher. But recently, some American University of Sloan attributed the theory to Aristotle. The truth is that the concept, which has always remained in project management and features almost always.

Even though the concept has not been employed in aspects of business management so far, we have involuntarily asked at least some of 5 "W" if 2 "H" s before running small projects.

The concept became a management tool in Japan, created by professionals of the automobile industry, in the periods of greater evolution of the quality management. The purpose of its use would be to simplify and formalize the planning of any activity.

How to Make an 5W2H Action Plan?

O method of 5W2H ensures that a simple to do list be deepened and defined in a precise and complete way so that no doubt gets in the way of the execution of what was combined. Making a 5W2H action plan is a very simple and very intuitive activity, with no prior knowledge strategic management and quality previous knowledge.

Basically, running 5W2H is to answer questions. Yes that's right. You will pick up your activity list and, for each item, will answer some key questions, which give rise to the acronym 5W2H:

What should be done? (WHAT)

Every action plan must have a specification. Some examples: "prospecting sponsorships for the event", "reforming the new affiliate", "assembling the new e-commerce".

Why should this action be performed? (WHY)

Every action must have a reason. A company can not define a plan without something greater behind. For example: "Why do we want to prospect sponsors for the event? For it must be financially viable. " This "W" helps the manager to reflect on the activity as a whole within a prioritization hierarchy.

Who should perform the action? (WHO)

An action plan without accountability has few (or zero) chances of completion. There is also no team or group of people responsible for the activity. In the end, it is necessary to have an absolute person, one person, even if there are others involved in the execution.

Where should the action be performed? (WHERE)

It can have one or many locations. It will depend on the task. Defining this point in the plan will help you consider the shift and its costs on time and in budget.

When should action be taken? (WHEN)

Expected start date and end date, considering project risks. Compliance with the schedule should be a goal of the action plan.

How should the action be carried out? (HOW)

In this item, a more detailed specification of the action plan is entered. It can be a breakdown of activities, dates and responsible for each. Let's continue to use the example of sponsorship prospecting: "1. Define sponsorship and benefit ranges; 2. Map the 100 largest customers of the company in the last year; 3. Call 10 customers per day; 4. Start the flow of trading with the hottest prospects. "

How much will the cost of the action be? (HOW MUCH)

Every action plan must have a budget. It can be general, but the best bet is to be broken in steps.

Do not forget to keep records about your 5W2H plans. An 5W2H plan sheet can help you in this process.

Benefits of 5W2H

Because it is a simple tool, bringing a lot of objectivity to the execution of the action, it is extremely used in management areas, such as: Project management, Elaboration of Business Plans, Strategic planning.

So, here's a quick practical example of using 5W2H in Strategic Planning. Follow us!


5W2H in the context of Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning can be described as formulating a formal plan with the short- and long-term goals of an organization. Therefore, it is through this plan that the companies plan their actions and how they will be executed.

put strategies in practice with action plan 5w2h - execution

In this context, it is very advantageous, due to its simplicity, to use the 5W2H tool to plan these actions and their execution. However, when and how to use it? This is exactly what we are going to discuss next. Check out!

table 5w2h

In this example we use our strategic planning worksheet and our spreadsheet 5W2H.

When and how to use the 5W2H tool?

When to use 5W2H?

As we can conclude by explaining the concept and using the tool, 5W2H is used when the company wants to perform tasks more efficiently and agility, thus increasing productivity as a whole. To make this issue clear, note some examples of activities in which the 5W2H tool can be used:

  • Increase a company's profitability
  • Increase a company's customer base
  • Conduct partner media planning
  • Carry out cost reduction planning for a company
  • Define the strategy of selling a company
  • Plan the maintenance of equipment in an industry

How to use 5W2H?

In order to use 5W2H it is interesting to have the help of a spreadsheet in Excel (or some program of your choice). 5W2H can also be done in text files, or even in printed documents. However, always remember to save the registry in excel afterwards.

To do this, keep in mind the goal you want to achieve, the causes of that goal, and how to perform each step in the right way to achieve it. Go deeper into each item to make the use of the tool very advantageous.

But how to make this worksheet? The following is a practical example to make its use clearer. Come on?

Example Action Plan

Your business just went through strategic planning. One of the key goals set was "Increase revenue from online channels." In the strategic plan itself, activities for the current year have been defined.

One of the contributors noted that the company's website was completely outdated and would require a new one. The old one did not allow interested visitors to initiate contact with the purpose of the purchase.

5W2H Action Plan: What is it and how do you do it?5W2H Action Plan: What is it and how do you do it?

The figure above shows the action plan "Improve company website". The 5W2H of this action have been detailed below. Therefore, we have:

  • WHAT: redo company website
  • WHY: is outdated and the company wants to increase online revenue
  • WHO: Cláudia, from the Technology Area
  • WHEN: 21 / 01 to 18 / 03
  • WHERE: in the office
  • HOW: detailed actions in the image
  • HOW MUCH: cost of $ 3.000,00

Build your Plan of Action

You may have already realized how easy it is to turn your schedules into action with 5W2H. Although it is a simple management procedure, you should also have already seen that the gains that it can bring to your company are invaluable. Now it's roll up your sleeves and start even today!

In this context of gaining time and productivity, using a spreadsheet can save you a lot of time and make a giant leap in your management. At LUZ, we already have a spreadsheet ready for you to create hundreds of different plans already structured with reports and automatic charts. Build your action plan and improve your management right now with our Action Plan Worksheet 5W2H! You can try it for free.

More Applications of the 5W2H Action Plan:

Turn strategy into practice with 5W2H - many managers fail to turn their strategic planning into action. This example illustrates just how to avoid turning the outcome of your plan into action.

Using 5W2H in financial management - To show that the 5W2H tool can be used in any area of ​​the company, we set up a unique example of its use in financial management.

Excel Spreadsheets



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