Who – What – When – Where – Why – How – How much
Project management, organizing a team, writing a business plan, creating strategies, planning meetings, running day to day operations, general analysis and problem solving can be facilitated and improved by using a simple application of 7 basic questions.
The application of the standard reporters’ questions of who, what, when, where, how and how much to a specific situation will help organize the process of analysis and planning.
In order for this system to work, all the questions and answers should be written down. You’ll be building a visual map while defining the objectives, tools, resources, bottlenecks, time limits and chronologies of the problem. It will become clear what the real goals are, what is required, what is missing, who should be involved and when the tasks should be accomplished.
Who – Who is or will be affected by the decision or process? Who are the participants? Who will be involved or affected in some way by the project?
What – What are the objectives and desired results? What is the problem or challenge? What are the options available? What tools are required?
When – When is this supposed to happen? Define the deadlines, time limits and chronologies.
Where – Where is it going to happen? The physical place or space should be defined and examined.
Why – Why are we doing this? Why are we doing it this way or by this procedure? Why is it occurring?
How – How are we going to do it? The mechanisms, requirements, and processes needed in order to achieve the goal.
How much – How much is it going to cost?
Example – You are asked to give a speech on the sales results in Mexico for the last quarter for the upcoming Board of Directors meeting on January 10.
Who – The audience is the Board of Directors. The sales department, marketing, logistics and finance departments have the numbers and explanations of the results. Who is responsible for the agenda, audiovisual set up, room reservations? Are any other members of the company required to attend the presentation? You are the project leader and responsible party for the presentation.
What – The presentation is directed at the Board of Directors, they want to hear about results, expectations and strategies of the sales in Mexico. What questions will they ask, what aspects of the business will be of interest or concern? What information is important?
When – The meeting is January 10. You’ll need all the pertinent sales information by what date? It has be polished into a concise presentation by what date?
Where – The meeting will be held where? How big is the room, what equipment will be required for the presentation.
Why – Why do they want to review this information, is there a problem, is it routine? Why me?
How – Will you give a visual media presentation along with documents? What graphics will you show? Will you be the only speaker? Will the presentation style be serious, upbeat, creative or different from other presentations?
How much – Do you have a budget for the presentation and required materials? Do you have to fly in the Mexican sales representative to be present at the meeting? Do you have to rent equipment, hire caterers or provide refreshments or coffee service?